It is very upsetting to learn that we will be evaluated and categorized based on BMI. BMI is a very simplistic tool which is inaccurate for many people.

I am an athlete who is almost certainly in the top 2% fitness level of those in the pool. Yet because BMI counts muscle as fat, I qualify as "overweight" according to this tool- which is deeply ironic.

I will be extremely displeased if I recieve letters or e-mails chiding me for being unhealthy based on my BMI. And if there are premium-cost or other sanctions, I will be filing a lawsuit.

Union Rep:
To put you somewhat at ease, the attempt here is to get at folks who need to manage their weight due to being overweight or obese. We are negotiating exceptions to those with medical issues that prevent some weight management at the time it is measured (diabetes and other issues that may need medical management before weight loss can occur) and those who are exactly as you describe yourself where BMI is absolutely no indication of health. We are contemplating ways to get exceptions to the processes that we have not agreed on as yet.

If you would like more detail, or have any other questions, please contact any one of the Coalition team members: (redacted) or myself, the UFCW Negotiator (my office number is below also).

And thank you for letting us know your issue!

Thank you so much for your response to my concern. This has been weighing (ha) on my mind, and I appreciate you taking the time to write.

It does indeed put me somewhat at ease to know that there is an awareness of the limitations of BMI, and that there will be avenues put in place to deal with people for whom this is not a valid measurement.

I’d be happy to submit to a body fat percentage analysis or other measurement of fitness that will not penalize me for being muscular. I realize that these other measurements are more expensive, though. Perhaps any doctor who sees us in-office at some point during the year (for anything) can sign a waiver after looking at our six-packs and verifying that we are not unhealthy. Smile

Union Rep:

That’s not very much.

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

Triangles with Doug

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

Now that I’m not going to Bothell on my free Friday evenings, I have discovered that Prof Doug is doing a "study hall" at Bellevue in that time slot. We had a great group of mostly colored belts in there tonight, and worked on triangle setups.

First, some drills from guard, sans hands (Doug made us lace our fingers behind our necks).

Then: Start with foe in your closed guard, two cuff grips. Transition to a double knee shield or to butterfly guard (feet on hips). Act like you’re going for spider guard on one side, and "miss"… transition to triangle. Yank the hell out of that cuff to help fuel your angle change, and try to get said angle change down to as few steps (and as quick) as possible.

Now: You are in top side mount. Make sure you have kneed the opponent’s near arm atop your thigh. Slide your knee onto belly. when s/he pushes at knee with hir other hand, you grab the wrist/cuff and pin that hand. Yank your leg back, straight out, then hoist it up and over, shove your foot behind opponent’s head. At the same time, with your free hand, haul hir head up (my partners and I discovered for ourselves that that was a lucious detail- very distracting to the victim). Roll. As you roll, grab opponent’s other sleeve and lock the triangle as you finish the roll.

This intimidated me, as it looked complicated and showboaty. But when I tried it, it was nice and smooth.

Finally: You have opponent in armbar with your knees over hir face, but s/he is clasping hir hands together. Act like you’re going to try to pry hir hands loose with your foot, but then shove the foot right through. Open your knee above opponent’s forehead. This prompts hir to sit up. Let hir. This results in putting hirself right into your triangle. (Another tidbit we discovered during the drill… this bait doesn’t work nearly so well unless you really act like you are going for the armbar, and keep your leg over the opponent’s face. That way, as soon as you lift that leg and s/he sees daylight, s/he wants to lunge up into it. At first, my partner was not covering my face- and I had to think about where I was "supposed" to go for the drill.)

A roll with (blue belt) Daniel, a roll with Mario, a roll with Doug. Good competitive matches all (of course Doug was letting me work a little).

Nice gi choke from Doug: You are in top side control. Sneakily get ahold of your own gi tail (on the side closest to opponent’s feet) and wait your chance to shoot it to the far side of hir neck. You must leave yourself plenty of slack, because you are going to feed this gi tail to your other hand, which is behind opponent’s neck. Grab opponent’s pants at hir hip (same side as you are on), turn N/S, put your forehead to mat.

I adore gi tail chokes, but for some reason my brain is very impaired at retaining them.

The biochemical variable

Respect is for those who deserve it, not for those who demand it.

Friday lunchtime BJJ at Seattle.

I was relieved to see Glenn walk in right before the lineup, as it seemed to be "Big Boy Day" on the mat… there were plenty of people there, but they were all huge! Glenn’s always good to work with, and I’m happy whenever I get a chance to work with him.

A vigorous set of warmups, including running laps. We had run laps yesterday as well, and my plantar fasciitis was feeling the effects. I did it, but it felt like there was a knife under my right heel every time it hit the ground, and I had a noticable limp. The line is being crossed between pain and functional impairment. I think if I was asked to run laps again tomorrow, I would be physically unable.

You are under side mount. Bump up and frame your arms. "Talk on your phone" with the hand nearest opponent. Then turn into hir. At the same time, use your "phone" hand to control hir bicep (this was the detail I had to be corrected on). Continue turning till you are on your belly. (Note that this is *not* a hip escape/shrimp.) With the hand that is *not* controlling opponent’s bicep, keep the elbow braced on hir. Allowing this elbow to move or collapse is what lets the opponent dump all hir weight back on you and squash you back under side control. Once you are fully belly-down, move *JUST THE FOREARM* to get the underhook. Again, keep that elbow in there. Now you can get your knees under you. That all-important bicep grip (you’ve still got it, right?) will now let you yank opponent with the perfect leverage to help you dump hir over and get on top. The sequence (which I had to say aloud with every rep to avoid rushing/skipping bits) is Up, Phone, Arm, Turn, Under.

Next: same entry, only now as soon as you turn into opponent, s/he tries to slide into scarf position. The key for you now is to get your matward elbow fully underneath your body as you are lying on your side. As soon as your foe’s knee comes at you, grab the pants there and do that same roll onto your belly. You now have the pants in one hand and the shoulder/lapel in the other. Stretch opponent out. This will shove hir onto hir back. Resist the impuse to get to your knees too soon- the technique is actually tighter and more effective if you keep your belly *ON* the mat till you secure side mount. Now you can get to your knees.

Lots of drills. I’ve always struggled some with this technique, and the rolling onto the belly part is exhausting in a core sort of way. Glenn was getting tired too, and we kept up a cheerleading patter to chivvy one another through the last of the drills. He’s good with that, and with helpful feedback during the drills.

Tired and ravenously hungry by the end, so I skipped the sparring.

Between my new library card and my new Kindle, I have been availing myself of several Rory Miller books that I have not previously read. I have oodles of good quotes to share. One item that was brought up in my reading got me thinking about tournaments again.

Anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while is familiar with my ambivalence regarding competitions. I’m a self-defense oriented MA’ist. I enjoy the aspect of "fun" in BJJ sparring, as well as the practical aspects, but am just not interested in the competitive sport aspect. I have had a middling performance in the comps that I have done, and it’s not fun for me.

Although I don’t really appreciate a discernable feeling of fear- and I’m fairly self-aware, so I feel like I’d know- I do tend to experience a rush of physical weakness at the beginning of a match and in the first minute or so. It feels like all the energy just leaks out of my body like water out of a holey bucket, and I feel like I weigh about 800lb when I try to move.

One of the Miller books briefly discussed the adrenaline dump, the "lizard brain" mentality, and other body chemistry things that happen in self-defense situations. It’s a significant impairment that can negate all of your preparation at the one moment you most need it. That’s sobering. It’s scary to think that if I’m faced with an attacker, I might feel that same body reaction that I feel when I’m facing a tournament opponent across the mat- that rush of weakness and exhaustion.

This argues for doing tournaments, as often as possible, for the purely practical self-defense-oriented goal of learning to cope with and work through that crippling biochemical zap. From that viewpoint, it’s difficult to come up with excuses to continue ducking tournaments.

Well, except for one- my tenuous sense of confidence in my MA, which has all the solidity of a spun-glass figurine. If I start doing a bunch of tournaments and get my ass mowed into the ground over and over, is that going to drive me into despair bad enough that I might lose even *MORE* confidence…… or even give up and quit altogether?

Catch and Release

Own your s***.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday: walk to work. I then reversed any good I did by inhaling a Jack In the Box chocolate shake. I don’t even regret it, not a smidge. Rickson Gracie, those things are good. I’m not sure how it’s even POSSIBLE to fit 880 calories into a size-small cup, though.

Hey! Ron finally got his purple belt!!!! About damn time!!!

John got his purple! He’s mostly training at 13 Hands now. I wish he’d come back. I miss him.

Also wonderful news: there will be a *shower* at the Kirkland GB pod!

Revolution Results are up…. only 2 women competing at purple belt. Amanda Loewen won as usual. 3 women’s brackets at blue, although the heaviest one had only two competitors. By this time next year, there should be more female blues as well as more female purples. There were SIX women’s white belt brackets!

Thursday lunchtime BJJ at Bellevue. All spars.

Began with Professor Pedro (the first time I’ve ever rolled with him). Catch and release, catch and release, catch and release. He waited till the end of the round to *actually* tap me out.

After that, of course, I was exhausted. Yet managed to at least not get smeared by the others. I got a tap on Ram (north-south choke), which was delightful.

Also got to see Nelson for the first time in a while; also delightful.

I forgot my headgear today. Immediately, my hair was an amazing snarled aura standing about 15 inches all around my head. If I ever had any thought of being able to roll without my sweaty headgear and swim cap, this brought me back to reality.

This is an artistic topic…really….

I am obsessed with Magic Skirts. They are reversible, 2-layer garments that can be folded/tied into about a million different dresses, skirts and tops. You can wear the same one every day for a year and never look the same twice. It’s like folding sarongs into dresses- only a few levels up.

Traditionally, they are made with 2 different patterns- usually busy ones, heavy on the floral and paisley. I do not like mixing patterns, nor do I like floral or paisley. Yet in this context, the pattern-mixing works somehow. I have never really seen an ugly one.

I found a knockoff (E Trendy Ethnic Store) which offers some less-flowery, less-paislified options. They have some ethnic prints, which are much more to my taste. Some of their Magic Skirts have one solid-color layer, or a layer that is a watery blend different shades of the same color. Some of their skirts also have a different type of fabric for each layer, which is interesting. On their ebay store, you can pick a specific Magic Skirt (since these are all one of a kind, most online vendors will pick one for you, and you don’t know what you’re going to get. Maybe flowers. Or paisley. Or paisley flowers. Or even one layer of paisley and one layer of flowers. Urgh.)

RIP Bothell pod

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