Whoopie, I’m on drugs!!!

BJJ isn’t about doing a technique against resistance, it’s about doing techniques that your opponent doesn’t expect, and catching him off guard or off balance. Kaungren

Jiu jitsu is one of the few obsessions wherein you can walk into a roomful of people and say, "Wow, my butt hurts so bad from last night," and not only does no one think you’re twisted, half of them agree that their butts hurt from last night too.

Whoopie, I’m on drugs!!! I’m on three different prescriptions, and one of them is a new inhaler. I’m always very excited to try a new sinus medication… none of them have done doodly squat so far, but hope springs eternal. I also have antibiotics for the sinus infection. The allergist wants me to repeat the skin scratch tests…. the last ones I had done were on the east coast and with 1980’s technology. I told her I’d attempt to get a referral for that.

Friday evening no-gi at Sleeper. Cindy had to leave, and put Lamont and Terry in charge. Tyrannical despots! They made me do pushups for "speaking negatively" (ie, making a self-deprecating comment about my ability)!

Variations on Keylock from side control: If my little puny hand won’t go all the way around the guy’s thick wrist, I can try gripping the meat of the hand (which is something we worked in Kung Fu, so I can do that). Turn hir palm away from me.

Alternately: Use the arm farthest from hir head to hold the near hip down, then tiptoe around over the head. Backsit and scoot backward so that you are shoving hir head with your butt and and kinking hir neck. Now you have plenty more room to crank the lock.

Variation on armbar from guard: shove one of the opponent’s elbows across, then hug around hir shoulder and underhook the armpit with your hook hand. Hug hir tight against your chest, open guard (I had better luck if I put a foot on the hip at this point and used it to hitch myself around a bit further), and try to rock/maneuver hir enough to underhook the leg. You may be able to sweep from here. Otherwise, you can armbar the arm that s/he has crossed over.

We played with a couple of other things, but my brain was little too full at that point to fully absorb those.

I rolled with Terry, and asked him to put me/let me get in bottom half guard so that I could try to get out. Some of those efforts led to replacing guard…. Lamont suggests, though, that if my sweeps and subs from guard are weak (which they are), I’m better off trying to escape out the side and get on top or scramble.

I rolled with Lamont and *almost* completed a pendulum sweep on him… that was cool. I did complete a kimura from guard, which I’m not sure I’ve ever finished live before. I’ve tried it a lot, and Cindy is always carping on me for 1)not being in a good position before I go for it, and 2)using too much arms to push the opponent’s arm away, instead of using my body.

Then Terry put me with the new guy and had me go over a basic guard break and pass to side control. Terry had already taught the pass to him, so I just had to nitpick details. (Trying to push my hips to the mat THROUGH his own knee, putting up the knee on the side instead of between my legs, bending over instead of crouching with good upright posture, leaving WORLDS of room while moving to side control, knees on the mat in side control, lack of any semblance of Shoulder Of Justice.)

Terry again. Lamont had an idea for a new exercise. Whenever he saw me in a position where he felt I ought to be doing something explosive, he would yell "EXPLODE!" and I had to do *something*, fast and hard- while Terry let up a bit in order to allow me to do it.

Things got a bit heated in this match… Terry was goading me to chinstrap him at one point, and I refused- so he retaliated by crossfacing me to within an inch of my life. I called him a Bastard. Lamont informed us approvingly that we were "fighting like brother and sister".

Half Guard rocks.

If you sometimes feel a little inferior… Always remember that YOU were once the fastest and most victorious little sperm out of millions.

Saturday Form Of the Day: Cannon Fist
This did not happen. Nor did any Form Of the Day happen on Sunday. It’s been a rough few days. My sinus infection has begun to involve my ears, and I believe the time has come to slouch to the doctor and submit to being prescriptively medicated. My normally poor sleep being even poorer due to this ailment, I was also woken up on Saturday by Teddy- who was having a hypoglycemic attack. He was trying to walk through a wall, and getting all confused when that wasn’t working out for him. I had to take him to the ER. He is okay. More chipper than I, indeed.

Cannon Fist deferred to Monday. I had to look up one small transitional move.

Tues FOD: Box Form (now making sure to do the spear hand on OPPOSITE sides instead of doing it on the same side through both cycles… all it takes is making a mental note on cycle 1 which side it’s on)

(Two paragraphs of whining about the health insurance system follow. Feel free to skip!)

Arrrgh. Although I actually *have* health insurance right now for a change, the guy at the asthma and allergy center who made my appt told me that they wouldn’t pay without a referral. I said, F it, I’ll pay you cash. He was like, "????" I said, "I have been very sick for two months, and I just can’t deal with all the red tape and time delays that are going to be involved in that. I just want to get in, NOW." ("Now" being not until Friday.) He also told me that I have to stop all decongestants for three days before the appt. I laughed at him. Sorry, that is not going to happen. I can barely function at this point even while popping handfuls of Sudafed and Nyquil, and spraying that horrible acid up my nose. The pressure in my sinuses is such that my entire skull will certainly explode messily all over the walls if I just let it go.

It is very frustrating to actually have insurance and not be able to use it- but I just know that’s going to take twenty phone calls, and they’re probably going to bust me back to square one and make me see a GP…. who will want to re-try all the entry-level treatments that have already failed me, and it would take forever to work my way back up the chain to the specialists. Seeing as how the specialists themselves haven’t been able to help me thus far, I do not want to see a GP who is going to be patting me condescendingly on the head and asking "Have you tried Benedryl?" Arrrrgh. Then I will probably get laid off again and lose the insurance and be back at square one *anyway*. I’d rather just cut to the chase and pay- although it would be nice to be able to save the money, especially if I’m about to get laid off.

This is part of the reason I hate going to the doctor so much. And don’t even get me started on the health insurance system. (Well, any more than I already have…)

Wednesday FOD: Sil Lum Tao

Thursday lunchtime BJJ at GB Belle.

Today was my day to shine, as we were doing all positional sparring from half guard (evil chuckle).

The prof said "Pair up," I grabbed John. Prof: "One guy ees going to start on the bottom-" I lay down. "Top guy ees going to start in half guard." John and I looked at each other and immediately started giggling wildly. He is probably the person in the school who bitches and whines the MOST about always being trapped helplessly in my half guard.

We did that for a while, then we did King Of the Hill from half guard. A couple of people did manage to get out of my half guard (after considerable struggle), but many failed utterly. I passed *everybody’s* half guard. Short legs and tiny feet help in this respect. As long as I’m careful with my balance and don’t let them tip me over, I can almost always pass. I stayed down for almost the entire KOTH session without losing and having to go back in line; and that almost never happens.

Working with this position for the whole class; for once I truly felt like I belonged on the mat as the equal or better of anyone in the room (except the Prof, naturally… but even he had to work a little to get out of my half guard (he was nice and didn’t smash, of course)).

Evening Competition Class at GB Belle. I had to pick up Stella at the vet’s, and so arrived late for basics class- which is just as well, since basics class did not seem to be happening for some reason. So I spent about 40 min working on Cannon Fist, Kiu Two, Five Points Of the Star, that Dragon drill that CN showed me (which name I am blanking on at the moment…something about a pearl….), all of the Black Crane drills, and silk reeling. I haven’t done any drills in almost a year. Luckily, the Black Crane drills came back promptly, but I really need to print out my transcripts of the Tiger drills and go over those before they go poof.

Opponent has you in spider guard. You grab hir left pantleg with your left hand (cross grab), grab hir left sleeve with your right hand (same-side). Step back with the foot that is on the same side that you have all the grips. Yank. Opponent should slide sideways so that you can drop right into KOB. I am working against muscle memory because there is a dance step that is being invoked here, which wants me to step back with the wrong leg. I have to stop and think.

Opponent has you in spider guard. You grab both pantlegs, slam hir ankles together, smash hir soles to the mat, and pass.

Opponent has you in spider guard. You grab both pantlegs, step back a bit, and crouch to dislodge the feet. Now step to one side and pull the near leg to you, push the far leg back- so that your arms make an X shape. You should be yanking hard enough that the opponent comes to you (and turns sideways) more than you stepping toward hir. This one was the most difficult for me. It is (as Carlos pointed out) a blend of the first two. I kept wanting to grab sleeves (my partner had to correct me) or turn my body the wrong way.

Note for all three moves ending in KOB- try to have your body upright and elbows pasted to your torso- there was a lot of straight-arming going on around me, which is dangerous.


Porphyrophobia: fear of the color purple.

Monday FOD: Kiu Two
Tuesday FOD: Leopard Three

The Layoff Games: Things are not looking rosy. I am on the "low seniority" list (colloquially known as "the bump list"). That means that even though there are not supposed to be any positions eliminated at the Bellevue branch during this round of layoffs (there will be at least one more round, in the spring), any of the laid-off technologists at *ANY* branch can choose to "bump" a person off the bump list and take hir job. Although this means that we on the bump list will be absorbing most if not all of the layoffs, normally I would say I had a low chance of being bumped because I work graveyard- and nobody likes that shift. However, the boss told me this morning that one of the technologists expected to get a pink slip is a graveyard tech at another branch. So- if that person wants to stay on midnights, and is okay with commuting to a different branch (commuting being much less of a factor when you’re dealing will off-hours like this), s/he will be bumping me. I can almost see the glitter of the axe.

Trying to sleep this week has consisted of strings of stress nightmares- although few of them have involved material from last fall, so as long as that remains true, I can endure. Last fall really puts a lot of things in perspective. Even the layoffs, which I would probably be stressing over a lot worse if not for the thought, "Even getting laid off (again) is not going to be half as traumatic as last fall." Whatever s*** life wants to throw at me is just bugs on the windshield right now.

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Sea. I warmed up with some reps of Leopard Three (both sides) and Kiu Two.

Guard pass: opponent grabs cross-collar, you grab both lapels overtop the arm and bring elbow firmly to your ribs to pin hir arm. DO NOT MOVE HIPS- hips stay square- turn sideways by bringing just the knee out. Push the knee down, get up on toes and tiptoe to the side, side control.

Prof reminded us to posture up at the beginning; I was a little smug to observe to what extent this annoyed my partner, who kept reaching for my lapel and then having to heave himself up to strain for it. In turn, when I was on the bottom, I noticed how much he was *not* posturing up, and how much easier that made life for me.

Next: Bottom person grabs half guard as the top person is passing. Note: LOCK it. I tend to get sloppy about locking it up because I’m too busy thinking about what comes next.

Bottom person: Make sure the top arm goes OVER opponent’s shoulder. It quickly became apparent that I needed to be speedy to accomplish this, because if I did not get the arm into position pretty much immediately, as soon as the guy’s weight came down on me I would be pinned and it would be impossible to do so.

Try to grab the belt in back (this was not happening for me; my arms were waaaaaaaaay too short.) Place matward hand on temple and curl under opponent, ducking head as close to hir thigh as possible. I wanted to ingrain this in particular- Cindy (and anyone taught by Cindy) loves to crossface the crapola out of you when you’re trying to do anything in bottom halfguard. Unfortunately, the more I curled underneath, the more impossible it became to achieve any semblance of getting that belt grip. Oh well, I could still make it work without it.

Now: Assuming your face is safely deep, take hand off temple and grab opponent’s pants at knee. Switch the legs. Stretch opponent’s leg out (again, not happening for midget Kit). Now hook the outside-leg toe under opponent’s thigh (note that it must be above the knee). Push into opponent so that s/he will reflexively push back. Go with the push and lift the opponent into the air with your three-legged table: That belt grip (if you be so lucky), the knee pantleg grip, and the hooking toe. I was able to make it work most of the time without the belt grip.

You’re not trying to flip hir- although you maybe could, keeping in mind that this is not a good position from which you can scramble on top. You’re trying to play "airplane" with hir back half just enough to drop hir between your legs and replace closed guard.

This had a lot of steps, and was also new to me, so I was feeling some anxiety. I was also drilling with a white belt, who was a bit lost. I did okay, though- and was even able to contribute feedback and suggestions to him.

Pic: The gal on the right is Gina, whom I work with sometimes at both GB and Sleeper. The gal on the left is Elaina Stowell from Foster BJJ, who has recently published a book about her BJJ journey: Flow With the Go. The dude in the middle (whom you may recognize from a blog pic earlier this week) is Jeff, a brown belt from Foster who runs the Revolution tournaments.