More Thursday

Happiness is being high on the food chain.

4:30 Basics at GBBell.

Opponent is high front-mounted on you. You form your hands into L’s and stick them in hir armpits while popping your chest to force hir to post above your head. Fold at the waist and try to stick your feet in hir armpits. Grab the belt. Try to roll over your shoulder out the back. This was a little tricky on a huge white belt guy. The key was that belt grip- if I got sloppy with that, there was no getting out. Once I made a little room, I could worm out the back, although it wasn’t pretty.

Opponent in turtle. Sprawl on hir shoulders N/S. Wrap your arms around opponent over one shoulder and under the other like a Miss America sash. The over-the-shoulder: Get a collar grip, fingers in. The under-the-shoulder: Stick this one in deep and try to lay your hand on the back of the opponent’s head. (I had to drop to my knee beside the guy’s shoulder to accomplish this). Put your head in the hole between hir elbow and knee. Roll to the outside. The guy will have to roll with you. (NOTE: do not be in such a hurry here that you neglect to carefully place your face- if you do not put it right in that opening, you wind up pulling the guy bodily right over your own face and maybe breaking your nose.) You may be able to finish the choke from here, but to make it tighter, run your feet around and curl toward the opponent till hir head is lying on your thigh and finish there.

Short matches- but the huge white belt I was drilling with, it was his very first day. So I showed him what closed guard is, and what you do when you’re in it, and had him work on passing my guard a few times. Then I had him put me in his closed guard and I tried to pass while he tried to hold me there or knock me over. Try to get to side control, hold for 3 seconds, try to front mount, hold for three seconds.

I told him to not use weight or strength on me, and I think he was trying, but man was he ever heavy, and a bit spazzy.

Competition class: it was just me and Ben, so we just rolled. He really dominated me- as easily as Hostility Boy had this morning, but Ben at least wasn’t a total d*** about it. I feel discouraged about my performance today (except for my teaching- I like teaching brand-newbies, and I think I’m good at it… this is part of what it means to be a Team Player, so up yours, H.B.), but one just keeps walking in the door, right?

Ben showed me a "crossface" from top side control that seems interesting- it did not appear from my perspective to be pushing the head far enough to be effective, but when he did it to me, I could see that it was- and that particular version didn’t have me overbalancing my weight, which had been a problem several times during my rolls with him. I will need to try that on some other people.

After we’d been working for about 40min, I folded my right big toe in half and had to quit. Icing it now. I don’t think it’s sprained, but it hurts. Hate toe injuries. We’ll see what it feels like tomorrow. It would be nice to be able to hit one of the morning classes.


Pain is just weakness leaving the body.

This afternoon’s class was a dramatic study in contrasts.

Lunchtime BJJ GBBell. I was very careful to de-cathair my gi: I washed it with an extra rinse, flapped it outdoors, and instead of wearing it on the commute as I usually do, I tape-rollered it in the locker room before putting it on. I hope that was sufficient.

Dreels to start: Opponent in your guard, foot on bicep, triangle with arm wrapped to outside, turn into omoplata (keep back on the floor), back to triangle. Triangle stuff is always a challenge for me. I was drilling with Nelson, who is so broken that he really should not have come. His knee is in a brace (bad soccer injury), his elbow was dislocated last week by some spastic blue belt, and that’s not even counting all the taped digits and usual miscellaneous hurts. Of cuorse I was only drilling this on his good arm, and I asked him about ten times if he was okay as I was placing my foot (very carefully) on the bicep of his bad arm. It was mostly his knee causing him trouble; he had to pause a few times and stretch it out and make faces. He insisted on drilling both sides, even though I kept telling him to take it easy. I told him (as I do frequently) how nice it is to work with him, he is one of my very favorite classmates in the whole place. He told me the same, which was really nice to hear (especially in light of what happened later).

Positional training from closed guard, pass vs sweep, with a half dozen different people rotating. (I told Nelson he should sit this out, and he wouldn’t listen…. at least he wasn’t foolish enough to do open mat). The usual discomfort of frequent partner-switching was alleviated a bit by the fact that Carlos was making the last two people to get paired up for each round do pushups. I’m more assertive about grabbing random men- and they are less assertive about avoiding me- when the alternative is pushups.

One of the guys I worked with was a nice friendly brown belt visiting from Hawaii.

Eight minute rolls: the first pairing was me and Hostility Boy. Oh, heck.

The asswipe stuck BOTH hands in his belt and rolled with me that way. And since the gods are not kind enough to make technical skill and assholery mutually exclusive (I really need to send up a petition to that effect), he got me in bottom side control and armless scarf a few times and then just lay there on me.

I guess if my options are this versus having him sub me thirty times in two minutes while breaking both arms and a few vertebrae, I’d rather have this… but COME ON. Really? Why do you have to be such an a**hole? This is a guy who is techically very good, he’s strong, he has good competitive aggression, but he is just NOT A TEAM PLAYER. Would you want this guy- no matter how skilled at omoplatas- representing your school? You could just cut the contempt with a knife. How much of a self-absorbed arrogant prick do you have to be to feel like it’s okay to treat people like that?

I should be grateful that out of this really populous school, there are only two ripe jerks (and this one is out of town at college most of the time right now)- not counting the handful whose backward religions tell them that I am too dirty for them to touch. Most of the guys are ranging from fine to really great, and I’m thankful for that. But this guy- geez. And to go straight from NELSON to THIS. That’ll give you whiplash.

After that, I was ready to sit on the wall and nurse my wounded dignity, but the prof was motioning me out. He rolled with me a little and corrected me on a bunch of things. 1)Do not do technical lift or otherwise press my foot right on a standing guy’s knee- especially the inside of it. I tend to get sloppy assuming that my slight weight has no chance of injuring anyone, but he’s right- just no. 2)Break guard and turn body sideways. I’m afraid of getting triangled, but he wants me to control the matward leg and stop worrying about that. 3)When caught in footlock, grab the lapel- don’t just brace and push frantically with the other foot.

I feel like this is all stupid elementary crap that I shouldn’t need to be told at this point, and it’s embarrassing- but the difference is that Carlos doesn’t act CONTEMPTUOUS. He doesn’t act like I’m a waste of his time or that I’m unworthy to be breathing the same air. Thankfully, he is usually pretty patient.

Brandon, that enormous teenage green belt, turned 16 today and recieved his blue belt. Awesome. I was happy to be there to see that. His dad was there too.

Who are you, and what have you done with the wolverine?

Turn your body into a temple and nature starts talking to you. It brings you back to a wilder, more authentic state. Nature is not just a name to identify what we have not yet covered with concrete and asphalt. It is life lived without fear, without sense of guilt; life not enslaved by the artificial rules of a society which has lost it center. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior

Don’t let go of the pants!

When human beings lose their connection to nature, to heaven and earth, then they do not know how to nurture their environment or how to rule their world- which is saying the same thing. Human beings destroy their ecology at the same time that they destroy one another. From that perspective, healing our society goes hand in hand with healing our personal, elemental connection with the phenomenal world.

Lamont for President- no, KING OF THE WORLD

Perhaps even more than the dogma of scientific philosophies, the gloomy ghost of many different religious doctrines planted the seeds for the rejection of the body. Doctrines of renunciation according to which life is a sin to be amended. Doctrines born out of the fear to be truly alive. In their eyes, the Earth is nothing but a vale of tears, a place of suffering, nothing more than an obligatory stop on the way to reach better destinations. The body is a heavy burden pinning us to the ground, an obstacle on the way to Heaven. Not only are body and soul not in harmony, they are antithetical principles at war with each other. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior