Ta da!!

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Understand weapons ARE the big equalizer. Up until the introduction of very efficient weapons that did not rely on strength (think the revolver, first), might DID make right. Not morally, but any moral argument put forward could be beaten to the ground. –Rory Miller

2 afternoons training with Tylik.

Mostly stancework (using the long form, although said stancework translates to all the other forms as well as, uh, standing. My most eggregious sins continue to be 1)failure to have the pelvis tilted at the right angle (which in turn messes up everything else all up and down the body), and 2)allowing my knee(s) to collapse inward (which in turn messes up everything else all up and down the body). Erroneous foot position also looms large. Some arm position stuff- bad crossing of centerline, not having arms low enough to guard against groin kick, and spreading arms too wide as if in a “ta-da!!!!” dance pose (which is NOT Tai Chi). Going over one or two tiny snatches of the form and being utterly dazzled at how many things you have to pay attention to in order to make a seemingly simple 180 degree turn. As soon as I start focusing on pelvic alignment and arm position, I forget foot position and torso turning… and vice versa.

We also did some Chen dao (actually got through the whole form). Many of the stancework items we’d been working on came up again here. I was able to troubleshoot my least favorite movement in the form- keeping in mind that the things I don’t like are always the things I feel inept at. In this case, it was a motion that Tylik performs like an avenging sword goddess and I perform like a lame chimp on opiates. But I think we pinned down what I was doing wrong this time.

I felt really good about the progress we made both days. I have a very limited attention span, and my knees start hurting after only a modest amount of stancework. But we broke the time up into managable chunks, and switched to sword (“And now for something completely different!”) just as I was about to start tearing my hair out over stancework.

It also felt very good to work on forms. I have so neglected my formwork. I am so unhappy not having a regular Tai Chi teacher/class nor a regular Kung Fu teacher/class. I miss forms. I miss Tai Chi. I miss Kung Fu. I miss striking and kicking.

Also- having spent almost the entire month on the bench for injuries, I have been very unhappy at not being able to train. It was so nice to get some training in.

Another good thing: my plantar fasciitis- while not totally gone- has slacked off to an amazingly relieving degree. That PF sucked so bad, but it did serve to be a constant un-ignorable reminder to watch my posture and balance and foot position 24/7. I was bad about doing my exercises, but the things Tylik showed me on her last visit about how to stand and step made the difference, I think. I really hope that these adjustments are now automatic and permanent, and that it will both avoid future PF as well as improve the way I move around in general.
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Holy cow, Rory Miller left a comment on one of my blog posts. He probably Googled himself and went to see who the heck has posted about five hundred of his quotes. Hope he doesn’t think I’m a stalker. I suspect that attempting to stalk Rory Miller would be a special kind of suicidal.

FYI, tattoos on the side of the ribs hurt like a mother. I have a small tat on my flank that has previously held the record for being the most painful… but the flank at least has a small layer of fat, and the side of the ribs is skin over bone. I’ve never had a tat still hurt nearly a week later, either. Additionally, I can’t put on a bra because the spandex would go right over the tat. It really is obscene and terrible for me to go around braless. It also made the Tai Chi interesting. Tai Chi is pretty much the only workout that is even on the table sans bra, and I had to wear layers of billowy clothes that completely concealed my body. Somehow, Tylik has no trouble seeing my knee turn in or my pelvis tip wrongly- I think she has X-ray vision. But seriously- these body parts were not visible by any stretch of the imagination, and it really makes a point for how those particular stance errors fuck up your posture in such an obvious way that she didn’t need to be able to see much to tell what was happening.

But as far as the tattoo- Lindsey did an awesome job. It is very meaningful to me to have tattoos- which are all martial-arts-related power glyphs to some degree, in my case- done by a fellow martial artist, and a back belt teacher of mine to boot. Makes me want to let him ink me up head to toe, ha ha. I’m working on a Sak Yant inspired design, contaminated with Chinese elements. It’s going to take a lot of time and research, though.

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Back to work

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In order to resist [suffering] for a long time, we have to be able to move the mind somewhere else. Beyond the body, beyond the sharp teeth of Pain. We can keep on suffering stoically….. or we can use it to learn to move our consciousness at will. Pain and fatigue exhaust the body until the rational mind, not the least intrigued by all of this, decides to take off and leave us free to explore other states of consciousness. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Photo: this is from the Grappleton. That’s Chris. 😉

Thursday lunchtime at Bellevue. I was so excited to see Chrisanne come in. I haven’t seen her in months.

You standing, partner in open guard. You grab hir left ankle with your right hand, place the heel on your hipbone, step your left toe in against hir butt and your rt heel to hir left hip. Bend your knees a bit. Pinch your knees together on hir thigh. Your elbow should be flared.

Now clamp the foot under your arm and let your right knee turn out so that you can drop on it, then onto your back. Do not drop straight back unless you hate your training partner and want to break hir ankle.

If you can’t finish the ankle lock, do a technical lift to get to back to standing, while thrusting your arm out to straightarm opponent in the chest to keep hir off you.

It’s always exhausting to do reps of a technique that has you getting down and then up, down and then up, down and then up……

Now, same opening, but when you try to finish the ankle lock, opponent hops hir butt over your foot.

You respond by keeping that foot clamped under your bicep (I found it really helpful to clench my hand on the ankle/heel), continue the roll in the same direction and end on your knees. your toe should be hooked over opponent’s thigh right at the groin. (If you stay choked up really tight on that foot, you really have no choice about that and it’s one less thing to have to think about.) This is kind of nasty, so I was really happy to be working with Chrisanne on this, and not with some big spaz (or with Hostility Boy, who was there today… lovely to see you home for the holidays buddy…NOT).

One roll with Chrisanne.
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The Thursday no-gi class is gone (I was expecting that to happen). There is now an open mat at 4:30. The unfortunate thing is that there is a Monkey Bar Gym class and a Boxing class at 5:30, which means that if you want to do open mat and then regular class, you have to either stay for one of those things (and commit to 3+ straight hours of hard exercise) or have an hour to kill.

Today, though, the MBG had not begun yet, and no one else showed upfor open mat- so Kelly and I (who had coordinated to meet) ended up having two full hours to roll no-gi. It was great.

I spent a lot of time on the bottom as usual, but I did manage to do a little bit better at keeping her off me in order to play a little more open guard and even try for a few subs and other techniques from guard (a weakness for me).

We gave each other some good feedback, and did a little experimenting (most notably with Del a Riva). We also did a small amount of standup.

I overextended my left elbow. It wasn’t Kelly’s fault, it was an accident. I was able to continue, but it hurts. I’m irritated that this happened my first day back on the mats from my sprained-toe-benching. I had planned to do two classes tomorrow and one Saturday, so I hope it’s going to be functional in the morning. My toe is a little painful but almost fully functional.

Proving Grounds II

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Physical force is one of the most effective ways to get what you want. “Violence never solved anything” is not just a myth, but one of those statements of breathtaking absurdity. Violence has solved most of the problems that people have had until the modern era (it’s pretty much the only thing you can do about eating and not being eaten). Weapons make violence easier and safer. –Rory Miller

We had a five-woman bracket in no-gi. That was awesome. I had to fight all four of them. All tough ladies who fought good hard fights. I was so tired.

The first two, I didn’t know. I had weight on them- which I used- and experience on them. I felt reasonably in control most of the time. Both were very flexible and squirmy, though. They made me work for it. I got the first one with a papercutter and the second one with an RNC.

Amy was next, and I knew she’d be harder. We ended the first match (which is timed) with no subs. I was on top most of the time.

Now Hadley, when I was really tired. She got me with an armbar.

I got a nice hip throw on one of them, I think it was Amy. Excited about that.

I thought they were going to have me fight Amy again, but they didn’t. I came in second.

Notes: I have ethereal control, yet I don’t think I have really found a way to use it in BJJ. There were two points today where I got in position for an RNC in such a way that my arm around the shoulders felt just like a key sliding into a lock. I then failed to finish it promptly, because for some reason I have a pattern of doing everything very slowly and deliberately… which gives the foe time to escape. Now, many people slam subs on too hard, and I’m usully advising people to slow down and be careful. But this is where I should be exploiting my control. I should be slamming faster and harder. I know I have the skill to do it without injuring people. I’m not sure what the mental block is…. I’m beginning to suspect that I’m trying to set a good example because I don’t want them to start slamming things on *ME*. It’s hard enough to get some people to chill out and quit slamming things without having to try to explain to them why I am doing it and yet they should not. In comp, though, I should let myself employ that advantage.

Since my hands are always freezing, I wear cotton fingerless elbow length gloves everywhere, indoors and out. Today figured it would be plenty toasty in the gym, so I left them at home. Of course my hands and feet were blocks of ice, while my armpits were like faucets. I kept sticking my hands in my armpits to try to warm them up, because I was worried about my grips. Next time, bring gloves **AND** warm fuzzy socks.

The toe, to my relief, did not seem to be a factor. (Thank Gods, now I can go back to class after this work rotation.)

Not sure how to improve the exhaustion factor. I ate an enormous scrambled egg breakfast and was well hydrated. I’m glad that I didn’t try to do gi today as well (although Hadley was bummed). I think there’s still a significant adrenaline dump effect going on. My nerves were perhaps a bit better than the last Rev and PG. Still there, but not with the dramatic draining weakness.

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Hey!! I won a free Revolution registration at the Grapplethon! (I think the worth of that actually leaves me in the black.)

My assistant wanted to know why I was a little late on Saturday morning, and when I told her, she gave me ten dollars to donate.

The take from the Grapplethon has hit TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy cow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have decided to get a Dauntless Flame tattoo. I made some temporary tat stickers to get the size and location (left side, far enough to not interfere with the existing kanji) right, but still waffling on color/outlining. I’d like it to have red/orange/yellow, but I think it’s going to require some back outlining. I’m going to get Fire tattooed on me on the winter solstice, which I find subversive and amusing. 😉

Grapplethon

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So often I have witnessed things I would never have believed possible that I am more than willing to keep my mind open to the idea that our bodies are home to forces that we don’t fully comprehend. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Spent 5 hours at the Grapplethon, 11:30pm to 4:30 am. I wasn’t rolling the entire time, but I was rolling a lot. If we ever do another one of these, note that we had plenty of people around midnightish; they started dropping off around 2am. I would have been more use from 2am to 6am. But by 4:30, I needed to have a nap because I was due to spend the entire Saturday at work. At least I was able to watch the live stream at work, because The Big Bad Boss is usually not here on Saturdays.

I got to roll with 4 ladies that I have never worked with before. They were all asking me lots of questions- technical questions as well as getting-along-as-a-woman-in-the-gym questions. I’m still kind of dumbfounded when people do this; I keep wanting to look over my shoulder for the Gandalf-like figure they must really be seeking advice from.

I deliberately did not wear my belt. A handful of people there knew me, but it was really nice to be anonymous and no-expectations with most of the crowd. Although one of those women asked me (in tones usually reserved for speaking to movie stars and royalty) , “You’re a brown belt, right?” LOL. See what I get for trying to fly under the radar?

I also rolled with a few guys that I don’t know, and Peter, and Chris, and Griff. I was really happy to roll with Chris, because it’s been a long time. I had to peel him out of his sleeping bag. He had one of those subzero REI cocoon-style sleeping bags set up by the side of the mat along with a grocery bag of food, and he kept disappearing into his little camp at intervals.

I missed Lamont, and also Terry and Chelsea (although I spied the latter two suspects on the live feed later).

Griff not only spent the entire 24 hours on site, he spent most of it actively rolling, and taking the time to roll with almost everybody as well as teaching us stuff. He’s lost about half his weight- I barely recognized him. He tweaked my kneebars (pinch knees together, do not triangle legs), armbar off a failed keylock (turn little finger side of blade hand to floor and lift the propping forearm up a bit) and a few other things that I immediately forgot but I hope will come back to me later. He actually remembered my 16-min fight in the elevated ring in October (I think he might have been reffing that fight… Gods, I was so spacey) and made specific suggestions about things he observed. That was cool.

It had made over $7000 by the time I left, with over 12 hours to go (and- I assume- the biggest crowds to some Saturday afternoon, as it coincided with the onsite promotions class and BBQ). Twenty-one black belts on the mat for this (BEFORE promotions). Luiz was apparently promoted to black belt. Robert promoted to purple.

Amanda Loewen has her brown belt. It’s a relief. It’s kind of ridiculous for a purple belt to be able to fight Tammy Griego for over an hour straight without getting disassembled. I found out she has only been training for just under 4 years. Wonder if she has experience in a different MA.

Toe was mostly okay- I made a little shriek once when I caught it on Griff’s jacket as I was trying to replace guard- it hurt some but was reasonably functional. I did start to hurt more as the night wore on, though. I am going to have to be judicious about training this week. I’m seriously worried about making weight, especially if I can’t train as regularly as usual.

You Shall Not Pass

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In combat, neither a knife nor a gun is used for winning fights. Get over that. They are used for killing people. That is a profound difference. –Rory Miller

Sun: 129.5

Sunday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle. I had e-mailed Kelly and also posted on the GB Sea FB page trawling for some Fun-size people to come to this class, but again it was a bunch of huge guys and me. Then later on, Casey and Cindy came in- so that was a little better!

I ate a huge carb-heavy breakfast this morning, so I wanted to work.

I spent about 40 min rolling no-gi with Peter before class. He’s so huge and muscley, but he’s really good about letting me work without being *too* condescendingly nice. He was leaving me just enough room to get out of stuff, *IF* I was really squirmy- so that was good practice, since I need to be more squirmy.

As usual, positional KOTH. Today, two purple belts and a brown belt literally just threw up their hands and surrendered to my bottom half guard. They simply could not pass (without Hulk-smashing), and finally just gave up trying and conceded defeat. Casey complimented me after class on my game, which is flattering, but I don’t really consider this a positive. I said to Peter, “One of these days I’m going to be able to actually *DO* something with this bottom half guard instead of just lock it on and throw away the key…. and then you’re all going to be screwed.”

After class, Cindy was kind enough to work no-gi takedowns with me. We did 50 each.

Double leg: Lower level. Then step almost between opponent’s feet with right foot. drop to right knee. Place hands on BACKS OF SHINS. Just place them there, don’t clench. (Cindy doesn’t like where I’m grabbing nor how I’m grabbing.) Prop left leg out to side, foot on mat. DO NOT BEND OVER AT THE WAIST! Place body right against opponent. Turn into opponent- you’re not facing right into hir, but getting close. Stand up. DO NOT REMAIN ON BOTH KNEES! Place head against opponent’s armpit. Odd as it seems, this feel like the key pivot point. Don’t fixate on trying to lift the legs. It’s about that erect body posture pressing at the right angle.

There are a lot of counterintuitive details in this. I don’t know how Cindy keeps her patience. She must have explained to me about sixty times, and she still didn’t slap me when I kept doing it wrong.

I crunched my right big toe on her shin. After hopping around and cursing for a few minutes, I was able to finish the takedowns session, but when I got home, I iced it and then put jow on it. I hate injuring toes. They’re so little and stupid, but it’s really impossible to do martial arts with injured toes- especially the large ones. I hope this is not going to bench me. I have several days off this coming week, and I want to train a lot.