Kirkland Open Mat


Five senses working together give birth to the sixth. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Fri: 129

Open mat in Kirkland. Got to roll with Cindy (no gi), Shannon, a big blue belt guy who was sublime at not using strength, a new white belt guy and a less-new but out-of-practice white belt girl who were fun, and Anh- a blue belt lady from Edmonds that I’ve never met before. Anh is exactly my weight and size. We rolled no-gi as well. Ron was also there, and he was the only one I didn’t get to play with tonight. Oh well, we get to work a lot at Bellevue.

I tried a little of the DLR that we worked on yesterday. Trickier without the gi grips, of course- but Anh (unlike most of my training partners) is small enough that I can actually grab her wrist and keep hold of it. I noticed, though, that when you sweep someone into a face plant with DLR while in gi, the person can turn hir body a bit before hitting the foor. When you have someone’s wrist in no-gi, they don’t have that bit of wiggle room- it seems more likely to present a shoulder injury danger. I certainly didn’t want to break my fun new toy the very first time I got to play with her! I tried sweeping her backward instead, but her balance was too good for that. Something else to work on.

I saw it on YouTube.


Ninety times out of a hundred it will work. If not, then you may have to give them the universal hand signal for LIE DOWN! (Holds handgun in firing position and repeatedly pulls trigger.) -Greg Hamilton


Sun: 129

Mon: 129.5

Tues: 130.5    ankle weights today

Wed: 130.5   ankle weights again

Thurs: 129.5


 Today is the first class I’ve made since the comp. I am at work all the freakin’ time, and I’m really noticing the ambient hospital stress getting to me more when I don’t have that regular gym time. Had to apologize to one of my assistants yesterday for being snippy with her on the phone. (She was the fifth person who had phoned me in rapid succession to ask me the same question, while I was running around alone in the lab like an overcaffeinated squirrel, trying to do forty life-and-death tasks at once and unable to get any of them done because the fucking phone wouldn’t stop ringing with people asking me if ___ was done yet, and how much longer was it going to be?)


Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

As we went to pair up for drills, Hostility Boy and I ended up standing alone at the wall, regarding each other in a perfect harmony of dismay. With an aggrieved expression, he impatiently motioned me over. I heroically restrained myself from flipping him the bird, and complied gloomily. Fortunately, Carlos switched up some of the pairs and put me with (white belt) Peter instead. I have been able to avoid working with Hostility Boy for a long time, and hope to continue the trend. The fact that WB Peter thinks I’m Kyra Gracie is embarrassing- he does everything but get down on his knees and salaam. But he’s a good training partner, and a nice guy.

You are standing, opponent lying before you and attempting to grab DLR on your left leg. You grab pants at the knee with your left hand and ANKLE (not pants!!!) with your right. donkey-kick your trapped leg back, step to the side (throwing legs away) and take KOB.

I was having trouble keeping the ankle- in fact I did not want to grab the ankle at all, and when urged to do so, I realized that my instinct was correct- I can’t really keep hold with my small hand even on WB Peter (small-to-medium-sized).

Positional sparring from DLR, several partners in succession. 

One roll with Prof Doug; noticing that I am overbalancing my own self into sweeps. *After* I took note of that, I corrected somewhat and then found myself being deliberately baited into doing it yet again.

One longish roll with Daniel, who missed the actual class and was thus fresh as a daisy while I was puffing and dripping. He got me in several things (including something that he confessed shame-facedly having seen on YouTube this morning…. I hate getting caught in YouTube experiments!).

Straight to another stressful night at work- a bad bleeder this time, in contrast to the crazy chick off her meds from yesterday- so it was good to get that workout in first.

Tournament breakdown



After the Revolution, I ate nothing but pizza and cupcakes for the next 24 hours.  -Side Control


So there was a full bracket of small white belt women, Plus a three-stripe blue belt and me. I wondered if they were going to refund me or give me a “Highlander Medal” (Thanks Julia), but they put the blue and me together. She was less than half my age and a titch heavier, so it actually seemed to be a pretty fair match, considering all. (In fact she almost got DQ’ed for no-gi… she was supposed to be under 136, and she was *AT* 136 even though their scale seemed to be weighing about 1.5 lb light. If the bracket hadn’t been sparse, they probably would have cut her.)

We chatted a little beforehand- which always helps my nerves; sometimes some of the girls are scary and intimidating and you don’t know what to expect from them. We both admitted that we weren’t into leglocks and wacky stuff, and I think we reassured one another that we weren’t going to try to rip one another’s heads off.

We fought a 7-min timed match with no subs- this was called a tie. I figured out that she likes to play guard and go for armbars from guard. Then they put us in the elevated ring and we fought again, no time limits. OMFG! That was so weird. I could hear the announcer yelling on the loudspeaker to the entire building, to come watch The Experienced Women In the Ring show us What This Is All About, no time limits, sub only!!!! Good Lord.

It felt like we fought for hours. I know it was at least 8 min, because her coach’s phone video timed out at 7 mins. I tried twice to tomoe nage her- was able to transport her to the opposite side of the ring, but not get her belly-up- each ended in a scramble. Eventually she got me in her closed guard, after a bit I managed to pass to side control, and that’s where we spent the remainder of the match. She made several valiant attempts to remove me, including a few that nearly worked. I tried keylocks, chokes and armbars from the side, and was getting nuttin’. I must have tried eight keylocks. I finally had a keylock on real nice, she was well pinned, and Cindy was talking me through adjusting it- but I pulled it to the extreme and she wasn’t tapping- so I finally decided that she (like Sonia) just had hyperflexible shoulder and could not be keylocked. Gonna have to choke this chick. At this point I was getting kind of frustrated, and it seemed like a good idea to try front mount (even though I could hear Cindy and Casey yelling at me to not mount- and I should have listened, because I can’t hold front mount and my subs from there are worse than my subs from side control). As soon as I moved to front mount, I heard her coach say calmly, “Okay Hadley, you know what to do from here.” Sheet, I don’t like the sound of that. I immediately moved back to side control.  😉   

By that time, my forearms (esp the right) felt like overcooked spaghetti from hauling on all those keylocks, I could barely grip, and I was so exhausted. The only thing that kept me going was that she was puffing and panting and I could tell she was exhausted too. If she’d controlled her breathing, I may have dispaired. (I told her this after the comp- told her to work on that for next time.). I tried to set up a few different chokes and was having trouble gripping hard enough. Finally I grabbed a handful of her opposite lapel, palm up, and started inching my body N/S over her head. I feel like that’s kind of a douchebaggy choke, and I don’t like to do them, but I was desperate and I knew I couldn’t keep going much longer. She tapped, and I exclaimed in relief, “Holy ______!” (I need to remember to not do that at the Revolution; I’d probably get DQ’ed.)

We got some time before no-gi, but my ams (and the rest of me) were in no way recovered. I had shot my wad in that fight. Not that I”m making excuses for what happened next- I was outclassed- but yeah, I was tired and I still couldn’t grip very well.

I fought the same girl again, and she got me in closed guard again, and then somehow she squirreled out at light speed and got my back and choked me from behind. It was embarrassingly quick. She seemed stunned. I was embarrassed. Oh well. She was a worthy opponent. I would have liked to give her a little more of a challenge there. My no-gi sucks so badly!

Then I fought a different woman. She was terrified of me, I could tell- and I felt kind of bad about that. She jumped guard, and I lowered her carefully to the mat. Then I was stuck in her closed guard for the entire 7 min timed match. I have trouble getting out of closed guard- I usually wait for the opponent to attack, and then I try to pass. She just wanted to keep me there; kept yanking me down on her chest. The only thing worse than this is this in no-gi… no grips. It took me the entire time to finally get enough space to start to work a knee up between us, and then the sock was thrown in.

Just a couple minutes, then we went again. Ref said, “No time limit- I got nowhere to be.” I did not want to be in her closed guard again, so I was planning to try to make her fight me standup for a while and tire her out- but the next thing I knew, she was slapping on a guillotine. I’m still not sure how it happened, and I’m disgusted, because that’s one of *my* favorites. She jumped guard and again I knelt slowly to deposit her on the mat. Then I started to work getting the guillotine off, but it was on there good and proper, and she started pulling. I maybe could have fought a little harder, but ya know- I’m 42, and when some young warrior starts hauling on my neck, good sense whispers in my ear, “Just tap, grandma.” So I did. Again both opponent and ref were stunned that it was over so quickly. Sorry everybody. I sucked epically in no-gi today. These ladies were good, though- I’m embarassed that I didn’t give a better fight in no-gi, but there’s no shame in losing to those ladies- they won fair and classy. (I’m glad Cindy missed seeing this, though…. Casey saw it… hope there’s no video!)

I like to think I would have made a better showing if I wasn’t so wiped out from the epic ring fight, but who knows. I also might have made a batter showing if I’d actually *done* any no-gi lately. I think I’ve done about 3 no-gi classes in the last six months. It felt weird to be fighting in those clothes.

As far as my goal to work on the affects of the adrenaline dump: It didn’t seem to hit me as bad this time. Part of it, I’m pretty sure, was the environment- it was a smaller building, smaller crowd… having a jillion people watching (including multiple of my teachers) definitely worsens my nerves. Carlos and Rodrigo were both MIA…. less pressure having fewer of my many teachers watching. Also, the pace. The Revolution is pretty well-run as far as BJJ comps go, but the fewer people here made for an even brisker clip. There were only seconds between being told we were on deck (when my biochemical reaction kicks in) and the engagement. There wasn’t much time to freak out. Oh, it was still there- but smaller. I even felt like I’d kind of had some fun in those first two fights. I have never felt *that* before in a comp. I felt fairly calm and collected during most of the long gi fight- I even remember chuckling aloud a little at something one of the coaches said (can’t recall what). It will be interesting to see if I am calmer at November’s Revolution as well, or if the environment just ramps me up again.  I will probably fight Hadley again in no-gi at that comp- don’t know about the other one.

It turned out to be a definite problem to do both gi and no-gi in such a small event. The Revolution usually has you waiting at least a couple hours between gi and no-gi. When you’re a colored-belt female competitor, though, with the often-shallow brackets involved in that, it is impossible to plan. It would suck to decide to do just one and not the other, if it turned out that you would have had several good fights in the one you dropped, and you end up finishing in 30 seconds in the one you kept.

I can’t even imagine being a white or blue belt guy in one of the populous brackets, and doing 8+ fights in both gi and no-gi. Lord.

I saw one guy dislocate his shoulder and another take a leg injury- not sure if that one was a break, but he was writhing around on the floor like it was worse than just a cramp or pull.

Also saw Will demolish all the competition and win 1st. That was cool.

On the way home from the comp, I bought a half-pound bag of peanut M&M’s and one of those 880-cal Jack In the Box small chocolate shakes. I also decided to drink as much non-diet Dr Pepper as I want for the rest of the day. My body is going “Whaaaaaa-?” at the influx of sugar after being on a diet composed largely of eggs and poultry for a good while.


“I’m going to just try as hard as I can to kick your ass.”



To cherish perfection is to commit creative suicide.   –Barry Hughart

Pink Team in Bellevue. Shannon came back for a second dose, and we also had a new teenager.

Carlos came over to bust my chops- asking me if I was  A)going to stay for “all levels” class after this, or was I B)”soft”. So of course I had to commit to the next class. 

RNC… with collar, without collar.

Same arm drag to taking the back that we did this afternoon.

A little light positional sparring starting from back mount.

Then “all levels” – all sparring.  5 min rotating rounds. I asked everyone to sweep me repeatedly with deep half. Most of them managed to accomplish it at least once or twice… although I am starting to see that my habit of reflexively trying to crush up against the opponent- as well as reflexively trying to climb on top- is making me vulnerable. I’m doing better at defending it when I sprawl low and keep a little distance between our bodies. This is counterintuitive to me, but I want to experiment with it some more. I don’t really trust my pins… but honestly, I am probably better off trusting my pins than trusting my mere 130lbs of mass to hold the guy down.

When I asked Coach Dynamo to try to sweep me with deep half,  he responded by staring at me very seriously and saying, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to just try as hard as I can to kick your ass.” Well okay then.

When I went with Ann Marie and Crisanne, I coached them while we were rolling. Crisanne- still getting better and better, but freezes up when she can’t think of what to do next, and stalls out when she tries Plan A and it doesn’t work. She only likes to use solid techniques that she has worked on enough to feel comfy with- she doesn’t like to improvise.

Kitsune: “That’s not working. Try something else.” Crisanne: “I don’t know any other escapes from here!” Kitsune: “Just move around a little and experiment.”

Next thing we know, she’s escaping *and* passing my guard with something that she just randomly pulled out of her butt. See?

Ann Marie- puffing and gasping and flailing in panic. I told her to breathe, chill out and just work methodically.

Coach tapped me once with some complex choke that he set up out of my sight. I knew he was setting something up, but I couldn’t figure out what it was until too late.

I tapped Ron tonight. I’m really excited. I know it’s cheesy to brag about who you tapped- but Ron is really really good, he never babies me, he taps me all the time, and I can’t remember the last time I tapped him. I got a triangle set up on him- which was exciting enough in itself- hell, I would have called tonight a celebration just for that much. I couldn’t quite finish it- I readjusted, but no joy. He told me later that it was a bit too high up. But- and here’s the superawesomeincredible part- when I saw that I couldn’t finish it, I grabbed his extended arm and performed an odd but ultimately effective armbar on it. So not only did I get a tap on Ron, but it was with a somewhat improvised “Plan B” move. One of my weaknesses is similar to Crisanne’s: I tend to get fixated on Plan A, and I just keep flailing at it even after I realize it’s not going to work. One of my goals is to get better at deciding on and executing a “Plan B.”

Chris is melting away. I told him that he needs a smaller size gi, because he looks like he’s lost a ton of weight. He said he’s lost 25lb! He looks great!

Tiny package


“Today we goan KEEL each other.” –Professor Carlos

Fri: 131

Congratulate me- today I said the N-word to my boss. Well, I e-mailed it to her. All these extra shifts I’ve been doing- they are playing hell with my training, but I’m happy to have them- especially in light of the fact that I could possibly get laid off a THIRD time in the next round of hatcheting. She knows I like midnight shifts. *I* know that nobody ELSE likes them, and that it’s difficult to fill them. She has one of her midnight techs out on vacation and another one out on FMLA. Someone else just quit. My schedule is already bursting, but generously I told her to feel free to shuffle me around. She actually had the sac to suggest that she “could get” me on more of the midnight shifts, IF I were to “volunteer” to forgo the overtime pay that would be involved in the back-to-back weekends. I informed her that I was happy to work as many graveyards and weekends as her little heart desired, but that I wanted to be paid what I am due for them. Good luck to her trying to fill them with any other employee, even if she DID offer THEM the overtime pay. Nice try, lady.

Sat: 131

EEEEEP!!! I just registered for the submission-only comp next weekend!!!! Gi (“light” 129.1 to 141.0 with gi on) and no-gi (class A, up to 136 lb with no-gi outfit on). I need to not backslide on my weight this week, which may be interesting seeing as SHARK WEEK is coming up!!!!  I’m not worried about the gi weigh-in, but I’ll probably have to wear a very brief no-gi getup!  Lord, please don’t let Aunt Flo show up the morning of. She has devastating timing. Sigh.

Sun: 130

Mon: 130.5

Tues: 130

Weds: 130 (I can’t lose any more weight because I can’t get to the gym!!!)

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ at Kirkland. Two tough-looking ladies from Federal Way that I’ve never seen before. Only one of them trained today. I didn’t manage to tap her, but I managed to stay on top quite a bit and set up a keylock and a choke (neither of which quite panned out, but at least I tried).

Shannon, later on FB: I think I tapped more in one round of rolling with Cindy than I have in all of the months since I’ve been back training. Much much respect!

First: Standup. Foe throws haymaker at your head. You “brush back your hair” block, change level, go down on one knee, grab behind shins.  Takedown to land in closed guard, control biceps to prevent further punches.

Same entry, only now do a “duck walk” stand back up on one foot and push the opponent over sideways. I was having some trouble getting to side control (kept landing in closed guard, again).

You have closed guard. Grip break, arm drag opponent crossways over your chest (don’t forget to use legs to help with this). DO NOT LET GO OF HIR WRIST with the matward arm as you scoot out the side and take the back. Get both hooks in. I need to work on pulling the opponent’s near leg out- which HURTS, and makes it more difficult for hir to fight the hook…. and if you can get your foot hooked around the ankle, you can stretch the person out as you roll hir over (which HURTS even MORE, hip flexors all the way up the spine- yay).

Same entry, but now opponent tries to square up again after you arm-drag. Let hir go ahead and yank, because s/he will assist you as you trap hir own arm behind hir head, underhook the thigh and load hir up. If you can join both hands at this point, Cindy calls this the “Tiny Package”. If you’re mean, you can squeeze (she got an impressive sound out of me in the demo). Now you can sweep and go to mount, armbar or any of a variety of fun places.

One roll with Shannon, one with Lindsey, one with Casey (who had instructions to attack, attack, attack… I was exhausted and laboring uselessly after about twenty seconds).

Note that this training blog is now on WordPress, if you like that better than Blogspot. However, I can’t yet figure out how to do a lot of things on WordPress, so it’ll be a while before that one has all the links and stuff. In addition, the import didn’t work very well- a lot of past posts are truncated.

The rubber and the road



A dog needs only a few seconds sniffing people to decide whether to snap at them, ignore them, or jump on their legs wagging its tail. Damaged perceptions are the only reason why humans need more time. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path




Tues: 131.5.    7.5 down, 7.5 to go.

Hour of raquetball. I am actually rather proud of myself for thus far refraining from asking colleague to take it easy on me. I’ve opened my mouth a few times to ask, then shut it again.

Gotta laugh. Guess what was included as an easter egg when I ordered a surgical scrub top from Allheart? A pink lemonade energy shot!!!

The prospect of competing at the purple belt level is scary. When you’re at white belt, or blue belt, you think “this is scary”- but purple belt is where the rubber meets the road. There are a lot of people competing in white and blue belt levels that are only hobbying. Once you get to purple, the only people left are dead serious badasses. And me.

Weds: 131.5

Thurs: 132 (Argh)

One hour of racquetball. I asked colleague to even things up a bit by playing with her left hand. I managed to beat her! But it was still closer than I liked!

Straight from there to lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. I blithely flung the door open to the women’s locker room, because there are never any women there at lunchtime. There was Vanessa in her underwear. Need to knock from now on, just in case!

All spars. I was tired, and I had no easy opponents. I was doing way too much Clench-N-Cling. Only got subbed twice, and once was with a can opener (!!) but I didn’t whine, because I could feel that it was controlled, and I had plenty of time to tap. I had one white belt- he was strong and frisky; I held him at bay for half the match with spider guard, and once he managed to get past that, I clamped half guard on him for the rest of the match. I apologized for it, but pleaded exhaustion.

Two people swept me with deep half guard. Everybody has been doing that to me lately, and I am helpless against it. I REALLY need to grab an upper belt to give me a little workshop in the near future on dealing with this.