Sign above toilet at Bothell school: “Hope your aim is better when you fight!”

Saturday BJJ at GB Sea. There were half a dozen women in there today! When we separated into groups for positional sparring, we were able to make an all-female group.

Lots of positional sparring. Then a roll with Kelly, who was on top the whole time. Then a roll with Ron. I actually got a few chokes on him- and any tap you get on Ron, you EARNED- so it’s exciting the rare time I get any. He commented that the gi-and-forearm chokes appear to be my “bread and butter”. He tapped me several times as well, of course.

Then I had a meeting with Tasara. As happened the last time we tried to discuss Turtle Drum leadership issues, we spent a great deal of time talking AROUND the problem spots. I wonder why she intimidates me so much. I agreed to commit to leading some more (if my work schedule ever allows).

I am tempted to take one of Tasara’s shamanic journeying classes, but I’m scared of getting confirmation that I’m just not capable. I’m such a control freak. I have only journeyed once, and it was an accident.

SUB me.


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’s Path

Tues: 129
Wed: 130

With the all the shift-flipping, overtime, and subsequent reduced mat time, I am having a particularly difficult task lately resisting the caffeinated soda and Ritz Oven Baked Sour Cream and Onion crackers. I actually had those damnable crackers for BREAKFAST the other day. I also had two rice-centric oinkfests while CK was here. I love rice, but it’s interesting to observe how my body reacts to it after having been on a much less grainy/carbby diet for a while. I get tired and want to nap… and yet I get hungry again sooner than I probably would have if I’d eaten something meatier… and of course there’s an immediate notable jump in the numbers on the scale.

Thurs: 127.5
Fri: 128
Sat: 126.5

One of my very favorite authors has rewarded me for being a stalkerfan by using one of my characters in a little tangent on her current online novel. I must cop to a slight wince at seeing her write my character better than I do, but that is almost wholly overcome by the squeeeeee of it all. As for myself, I am still stuck on the same plot point that I’ve been stuck on for several months. However, my other MC got two new posts this weekend (it’s funny that I was working on it the same day that the REAL author was working on it).

Sun: 126.5

One of the things CK worked on with me while she was here was walking/standing with one’s weight on three ideal points of the foot. I have found in the ensuing week that it’s actually easy to remind myself to work on this- CONSTANTLY- because my PF pain is simply too severe to ignore. Thus I have been extremely well-disciplined about observing this practice pretty much every time I take a step. CK points out (paraphrasing here) that it behooves us to remember that our feet are not just lumps of meat to stuff into binding cases of canvas and ignore.

Mon: 126
Tues: 126.5

Store clerks look at you funny when you buy five cartons of eggs.

Weds: 128
Thurs: 128

Fri: Finally, some JIU JITSU!!!!

Sweeps from guard. Then rolls with Doug, Ross and Allison.

I asked Allison to deep-half-guard me… he is one of the best at it. He still got it a few times, but even when he did, I at least made an effort to stay on top and try a few things before giving up and rolling back on my ass. After the roll, he told me that I was getting batter at defending it.

Ross: Wow, just Wow.

I informed him that I was noticing that when he gets on top, he is REALLY tight and heavy and controlling, and I can’t do anything- then he starts messing around, and lets me replace guard or half guard. I said, “Once you’re on top and you have me really controlled, I want you to SUB me.” So he did, several times in a row, even though I was defending hard. Besides that masterful top game, something he does that I like is that he works outside of the box. He said, “I experiment, and it makes me lose more often, but….” But yeah, he’s going to be be incredible in the long run. Ross is one of those people that if he quits at blue belt, I’ll have to hunt him down and drag him back by his ear. He has a real gift.

Somebody clocked me in the jaw and gave me a real pretty bruise.

How d’ya like THEM spiders?

Today many people spend eight hours a day sitting before a computer or behind a desk, forcing their bodies to an unnatural stasis. Overworked minds, inert bodies. Depending increasingly more on an immaterial form of technology, we confine the body to a subordinate position. We grow detached from it. We forget its magic. We forget its power. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Today’s photo has absolutely nothing to do with BJJ. To my straight male and gay female readers, sorry. To everyone else: you’re welcome.

Fri: 128
Sat: 128
Sun: 128
Mon: 128

Pink Team in Bellevue: we drilled the comb-over escape from front mount to half guard, whereupon one’s partner passed half guard in whatever fashion she pleased, rinse, repeat. Then some positional training from mount- escape vs submit. Goddamn, Crisanne is getting good. She sticks to you like Spanx- leaves no room to work at all- digs that shoulder mercilessly into your neck, and lies on top of you like a sack of wet sand that feels much heavier than she is.

Then: advanced class.

You standing, opponent sitting with soles on the floor. You place your right hook-hand over hir left shoulder, paste your elbow to hir chest as you step forward with your right foot between hir knees. Now push hir on her back while driving right knee over hir rt thigh. Land on your hip like you’re skidding in for a home run. Try to pass your knee over hir forearm. Keep bodies pasted together, and don’t lift that elbow.

Next: same, but as you do this, opponent is foolish enough to throw an arm over your shoulders. Grab it and swing around for the armbar. DO NOT CHEAT THE GUARD PASS- this means don’t get sloppy with keeping the bodies close, and you must slide all the way into home before popping up for the armbar.

Opponent is now on hir back with feet on your hips. You standing. Grab hir right ankle with your left hand. overwrap hir left shin with your right arm. Step in and pin hir rt thigh up with your left knee. Now let go of that ankle and grab hir left ankle with both hands. Stand up and thrust your belly out as you shove the foot forward (note that you must clear your own flopping gi tails) then shove both of opponent’s legs away to hir right as you pass.

Next: same, but as you do this, opponent is foolish enough to start rolling away to turtle up. Stuff your right foot in the hole opening between hir waist and the floor, and thrust yourself into back mount.

Several spars. I continue to be ineffectual at defending Ron’s deep half- he got it within about 20 seconds, then continued to get it repeatedly. I made Pam deal with my spider guard for a good while (“How d’ya like THEM spiders?”) and coached and then pop-quizzed a white belt on nailing her chin to her chest as soon as I started groping for chokes.

Saeki got her blue today! When I saw the belts, I was so hoping for Crisanne to get promoted (not that it wasn’t great for Saeki). I did find out why it’s taking so long, though…. I found out that Crisanne had ASKED Carlos about it. (wince) Now he’s going to make her wait.

Attack, attack, attack


“There’s a girl here who looks just like you- only she’s wearing more clothes.” -Willow, Herald Camp

In case anyone cares, I will *not* be dying of melanoma this week. Both of my biopsies- including the one that looked just like a pathology textbook photo of malignant melanoma- came back benign. HIPPA, in its infinite wisdom, forbids health care professionals from looking at our OWN records. Wouldn’t want to invade our own privacy now, would we??? So I got to sit at work all night wondering if I was dying of cancer or not, knowing that my biopsy results were about six keystrokes away and I was not allowed to look at them. I love my job.

Sat: 128
Sun: 129.5
Mon: 128.5
Tues: 128
Wed: 127. Three pounds to go, and two whole months to do it in.
Thurs: 127.5

Thursday evening “black belt” class in Bellevue.

Drills: you are standing, opponent on hir back in front of you, feet on your hips. You push ankle aside, push knee BACK, step near foot up to hir ribs, KOB. This is one of the ones where I start to get really flustered over left and right.

Same entry, but opponent sits up and hugs your right leg. You pull up hir left elbow, pull your leg out and place it beside hir hip, swing your other leg out, take side control.

Same entry, but this time opponent is hugging your leg too tightly for you to complete the previous maneuver. Instead, move your trapped foot right over hir lap and place it beside hir OTHER hip, then slide down into KOB on that side, then place both knees on hir belly and swing around to the opposite side and KOB over there.

Rotating spars. I got the prof first. “Eet ees not always attack, attack, attack- sometimes have to wait, sometimes have to defend…” I guess BJJ does not have Tigers in it.

Return Of Terry


We can choose to step out and avoid everything painful, but that is a form of soul loss and only will make the journey longer and more difficult. – Tasara

Walked to work and back. I wasn’t working today, but I had two little biopsies done. I am corpse-pale and heavily freckled, so melanoma loves people like me. Folks, do not wait to have any funky-looking mark checked out. Things to watch for: asymmetrical borders, a variance of colors in the same mark, bigger than a pencil eraser, and a spot that changes appearance over time. You do not need to see all 4 of these to start worrying. You don’t even need one- anything that looks the slightest bit odd, have it looked at. Now, not later. Melanoma can be very deadly and fast-moving. Don’t forget that you can also have odd marks on your back, scalp or other places that you can’t see for yourself. Okay, that’s my public service health care message for the day.

Friday evening open mat at Kirkland. No Lamont, to my disappointment. No Shannon, either. Apparently she injured her shoulder. But Terry was there! He brought his girlfriend Chelsea, who is a white belt. We also had Wei, blue-belt Lindsey, and Casey. I got to roll with everybody except Cindy today.

Terry- constantly moving; he makes me tired just watching. “What the hell do you eat to be like this?” “Gluten-free, lots of coffee.” I was on the bottom constantly, but I tried to keep moving, because he gives me a bunch of shit if I Clench-N-Cling.

Wei- always a challenge, but I feel like I held my own with him a little better than I usually do.

Casey- I asked him to deep-half me, and I had some semi-successful practice at both defending it in the first place as well as trying to respond to it in ways that DIDN’T involve conceding the sweep and dropping back on my kiester. He showed me a baseball bat variant using the gi tail to wrap-n-trap the far arm. He had me KOB him weirdly high up on his chest- the idea being to bait the person to push your knee with the free hand, whereupon you pin it down with your leg and then choke the snot out of them. Forehead to the mat beside opponent’s hip.

The stripe fairy

stripe 001

All the world will be your enemy
Prince with a thousand enemies.
And when they catch you
They will kill you.
But first
They must catch you!

-Watership Down

Thursday: 127.5

You can run…. you can hide…. you can even leave your attendance card in the box so that it doesn’t get marked….. but the STRIPE FAIRY is still gonna get you in the end.

No-gi class in Bellevue. Began with a grueling series of warmups featuring all sorts of mutated pushups, backwards and forwards iron buffaloes, and anything else that Carlos’ twisted mind could come up with. Bear crawls with your partner backpacked on your back. Bear crawls with your partner papoosed on your belly. Thank God (blue belt) Lindsey was there today. Even she was almost too much for me. It wasn’t the weight that was the issue; it was more a problem of restricted limb movement with a human being pasted precariously to your torso.

Opponent is lying on hir back with you standing, hir feet on your hips, Push the feet to your left, swing RIGHT leg over the opponent, and drop with your right hip on top of hir left hip. Go to side control.

Same entry, only this time the opponent turns toward you and tries to swing hir leg over your head. Punch BOTH your arms to the other side, slide through using hir hip as the balance point, and take side control on the opposite side.

Opponent tries to double-leg you, you snap hir down and sprawl on top N/S. go to the side, reach both arms under opponent’s chest, grab far bicep with both hands, and pull to place opponent on hir shoulder. Keep weight on hir while you switch your arms so that the outside of your bicep is on hir clavicle. Now use “RNC” formation with your arms and lean your hip on hir head.

A couple of short spars. Carlos put a big white belt guy with me, and then gave him a lengthy talk about how he need not go easy on me. After he made the point three times, I said, “Okay, that’s enough! Now he’s going to kill me!” “I know thees guy ees a gentleman.” And the guy was, to the point that I actually had to reiterate to him that it was okay to put some weight on me.

I also had to have a talk with Lindsey, who is really hyperparanoid about hurting me (“but you’re so LITTLE!!!”) and won’t put barely an ounce of her her hulking 135lb down on me. She was doing that first guard pass drill brushing over my hip like a butterfly. I told her to be kinda careful of my RIBS, but she could thump down on my hip as hard as she wanted. She also wouldn’t complete her subs even with repeated urging. I tried to explain to her that as two colored-belt training partners who have worked together for a while, she needed to trust me to let her know if she’s going too hard, and trust me to know when to tap.

Next: Advanced class. It was a relief to see Kelly, whom I haven’t glimpsed since I crunched her elbow. I once again sought reassurance from her that I hadn’t injured her. Oh, she now has 4 stripes! Pam also got a stripe tonight! And- uh, well, me too.

We divided into teams of three and drilled double-leg setups from standing, then did the same inverted turn exercise that we did last night.

Then: opponent is in your guard. Pull hir fwd with legs and work hir bottom left gi tail free. Underhook hir left leg and feed the gi tail OVER your own thigh to the hand which is now underhooking the leg. Now you can scootch your butt out just a bit and go for- surprise- an armbar on opponent’s RIGHT arm!

If opponent pulls arm out, Keep ahold of the other grips and go for an omoplata.

If you go for the omoplata and the opponent hops one leg over you to straddle your head, you can (still retain those grips!) lunge up and force hir to continue the roll until you are on top. If you still have that gi tail, and now your weight down on hir, s/he can’t get out. Go to side control.

Several rounds of positional sparring starting from closed guard. I was working with Ron, and I was very pleased to try some of my new strategies when he inevitably went for deep half guard. I wasn’t able to get his head and package him up like Cindy had shown me… but I am very proud to say that I did **NOT** consign myself helplessly to the sweep and fall back on my ass. I did in fact manage to stay on top- it was messy, but I stayed there.

Omoplatas and collateral damage


Like a martial artist who has developed an exceptional technique but who doesn’t have the wisdom to know when to use it, Western culture has in its hands the technological potential to turn the planet into a paradise, but has no clue as to how to enjoy it. Rather than being used as a means to enrich our daily lives, the evermore sophisticated technological inventions become a way to take us further away from our bodies and our nature. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Pink Team at Bellevue, followed by “all levels”.

Pink Team- round robin sparring. I enjoy working with the white belt ladies and coaching them. Today I taught Saeki the upa. I hope I get to see Crisanne get her blue. It should be soon.

All-Levels: Begin on your back with opponent standing behind your head. Invert, cross your leg to opponent’s opposite hip, and turn yourself square. This was fun and easy. I put my hands behind my head and thought I was a rock star. Then Carlos came over to ask me what the H I was doing ending by putting my feet on the floor. End with feet on the hips.

Next: you have spider guard on standing opponent. Opponent steps back with one foot. You maneuver yourself around and square back up. This was easy, but very tiring after a few minutes.

At last: You have spider guard on standing opponent. Opponent steps back with one foot. You move your foot on that same side from bicep to hip. Pull opponent forward. Instead of the obvious triangle, go into omoplata.

The trickiest part of this was bringing the opponent’s arm over one’s own hip and then “stuffing it in your own back pocket”. If you fail to do this adequately, it turns into an awkward and dangerous armlock which seems like it would be great for SD, but unpleasant on your training partner whom you want to be able to train with again tomorrow. As you turn, you are trying to get your crotch socked right into hir armpit- just like in an armbar from guard. Being that close allows you to use your leg to shove on hir shoulder and encourage hir to face-plant. When Lindsey did it to me, I happily face-planted myself just to avoid the armlock. The omoplata seemed both less dangerous and more of an escape possibility from that end. Another matter- that knee. As you face-plant, your opponent’s knee is going right for your mouth. After Lindsey clocked me once, I started putting my hand up to shield my jaw as I bent over. When I did it to her, I opened my leg and placed the outside of that thigh on the mat so I wouldn’t whomp her.

She also kicked me in the head once (not hard). This was definitely a night that I was relieved to not be drilling with a white belt.

Deep half guard dilemma


Writing is a job. It is not waiting for some mysterious force to smack you upside the head with inspiration. It is a job and you do a job by working. Sit down. Write words. That simple. Writer’s block isn’t what is going on. What’s going on is an overwhelming mass of projects. It’s like a huge pile of dirty dishes in the sink. You want to believe that if you just don’t look at them, they will magically go away. But that’s not how life works. You do the dishes. One at a time. Until you are done. _Rory Miller

Sat: 129
Sun: 130 ankle weights
Mon: 130 ankle weights
Tues: 130 ankle weights
Wed: 129.5

Nurse in break room (with quizzical expression): Do you work all shifts??
Kitsune: Seems like I’m *always* here, huh?
Nurse: Uh, yeah.

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ at Kirkland.

Foe bearhugs you from the back. You grab hir hands, lower base a titch, and swing left foot behind foe’s feet. Now kneel on rt knee and roll, rt shoulder first. Keep that grip, so that opponent is carried helplessly over your shoulder. S/he hits the mat and you roll over top of hir. You land belly up. Your shoulder blade remains glued to opponent’s chest. Keep pressure on. “T” up, then turn into top side control.

Note that if I ever have to drill this with someone heavy, to ask them to take it easy when I am the uke. Even with Cindy (130lb), I had to make really sure to let go before we entered the roll so that I could frame my elbows to protect my ribs. Even so, it hurt. This would be a perfect way for me to pop a rib out again.

Next: escapes from bottom side control. Frame up, push up a titch to get a little room, hip out, KEEP ELBOW PLANTED but windshield-wiper the forearm to underhook. Heist to knees. From here, depending on where you end up, you can take the back (your arm is high on foe’s back), single or double-leg (Head pops up, place sole on floor on same side, posture up, push and lift), or pull out opponent’s near leg and get behind it. Note that if you do this last, you MUST either 1)get BOTH legs back there, or 2)use your foot to pin opponent’s foot down. Otherwise you will find yourself being summersaulted and kneebarred. Note also to not lose track of that arm. I was focusing on the lower body action so much that I left my arm hanging straight out there, and Cindy elbow-locked me.

After class, I asked for help with the persistant problem of being sucked into deep half guard and swept.

Rule 1: do not resign yourself to the sweep and fall back on your ass (my habit). Stay on top. You may be able to simply sprawl heavy out of it. Otherwise, stay on top and try to wrap arm around opponent’s head. Bring knee/thigh up to support, and try to get nestled in there with opponent’s head resting on your inner thigh. Now grab hir far leg and try to squeeze hir into a Tiny Package (TM). It’s all about controlling the head. I immediately assumed that any big guy was just going to muscularly straighten out of this…. but if the head is kinked to the side and pinned in place, it 1)is very distracting (owwwww) and 2)makes it impossible to move the rest of the body much. There are more options from here, but the one I liked was to *let* the guy straighten out…. you go with it and grab a kneebar.

Note that I need to work these some more the next time I get to work with Cindy.