Thursday Dawn Patrol


The best commander attacks when the least skilled is still busy making plans. –Sun Tzu

Dawn Patrol at Seattle.

I missed the warmup.

Single leg takedowns. Drop inside knee between hir feet, Head pressed to hir belly and looking in, grab behind heel and thigh behind knee. Lots of details for me to mix up. Had to think hard every time. Still used wrong knee, head wrong way, forgot to grab heel. Also dropped knee on Steve’s toe twice. I suck. 😦

Drilling side control escapes, scarf escapes.

Basic guard break. First with someone your own size (Steve), then with someone of a different body type (the blue belt cop who is built like a granite statue).

One roll with Steve and one with the Granite Statue. It’s so nice to work with Steve. He’s my size, and very good, and a heck of a nice guy. Both guys complimented me sincerely on my BJJ. I appeared to be a purple belt again today.

No thank you


Many states have “castle laws” which lower the standards of proof in self defense situations in the home. In essence, if you are attacked in your home or someone breaks into your house, Intent, Means and Opportunity are givens. A castle law, to great extent, removes the Preclusion requirement. –Rory Miller

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue with Prof. Doug.

Tonight a brand new white belt guy generously offered to help me out by teaching me some moves. Apparently the fact that I had just had my butt handed to me by a black belt was evidence to this fellow that I sorely needed his tutelage. I hope I didn’t bruise his ego too much by declining.



’Feeling’ other people’s intentions when there is no time to comprehend is not a special talent reserved for enlightened masters. Only a bad relationship with our perceptions and a poor regard for our intuition can take this fundamental weapon away from us. Centuries of strict rationalism and skeptical philosophies have contributed to undermine our natural sensitivity. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Evening class in Kirkland, under Dave.

Opponent standing, you on your back with feet on hips. Opponent pushes your leg to the side and steps to the side, you cross far leg over top and replace the open guard. Over and over.

From closed guard: spider guard to triangle to armbar to omoplata to triangle.

From side control: near arm under opponent’s head, sit back on your hip, grab pantleg. Mount, grapevine, arm under head, dismount in “kickstand” position. Then side control. Rinse, repeat.

Basic back mount escape. Don’t forget to grab the pantleg and push it away. Also, noting that tilting the head to the side and then pressing it back against opponent before rolling onto the side makes a big difference.

Same, only this time opponent grabs half guard. Sit back on hip, clear the arm, CROSSFACE (very important), shoulder pressure. Now scoot butt back as you use free arm (and your other foot, if necessary) to clear the half guard.

You are in turtle, Opponent is sprawled on you N/S. Hug one thigh, pop head out on that side side and press it against opponent’s shoulder blade. Step the outside foot out. Pop your body out and lie back on opponent. Twirl around to hang off hir side, as s/he is now turtled. My biggest challenge here is remembering to circle the elbow back as I pop out.

Same beginning pose. This time grab both thighs and scoot in close. Pop head out, step out on that same side, use OUTSIDE hand to grab the near ankle. Push with shoulder (be very upright) and lift to spill opponent over. Take side control. There is a good opportunity here to also trap both legs on top of your thighs.

Sparring: Twice with a white belt I don’t know, once with Dave. With Dave, my amazing skills from this afternoon continued to reign. I did worse against the white belt, go figure- even though he wasn’t being smashy or ridiculously heavy. He had good basics, good guard passes and really good top pressure. In our first spar, I did loop choke him in about twenty seconds, which inspired much hilarity (him included).

Grape Ape class


The threat isn’t going to pick someone he has any doubt of beating, so he will be bigger and stronger. There may be many of them. He or they get the first move, from surprise and from a position of choice. –Rory Miller

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

All spars. All purple belts (except Kelly, who is on the cusp of promotion and definitely has the skillz). I got no taps. I myself did not tap. All good, technical rolls with excellent technical partners.

As has been happening lately for some strange but pleasurable reason, I felt like I knew what I was doing. I was relaxed. I did not get trapped on the bottom. I played bottom game with confidence and competance. I played top game with much threatening of subs…. and *different* subs; chokes, armbars from both mount and guard, omoplatas. It was a good time.

Is she going to let me have a choke??!??!!


Often, the obsession for being fair and objective under all circumstances transforms our mind into a tribunal. We want tangible proofs and objective evidence to believe in what we already know. Unfortunately, intuition is not objective and offers no proofs. It travels on tracks that are much too fast to wait for the painfully slow speed at which logical analysis moves. Rational understanding arrives at the finish line hours later (if it arrives at all), only to confirm what intuition has already revealed to us. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

I skipped Saturday “basics” class in favor of coming in an hour later for “comp” class, since Carlos typically whips us into such a froth in the first hour that I run out of gas and can’t do the second, and lately Cindy has been coming in for the second…. so I miss her.

I was kind of wistful watching everyone busting a dire move for the last 10 min of Basics…. but it appears I’m not alone in feeling that the double dip is rough, as only about a dozen hardy souls stuck around for comp class.

All sparring. Some 4-stripe white belt guy that I don’t know, Ian, Pat, Prof Dave. Felt competent but not stellar. I’m happy with “competant”, considering the caliber of Ian/Pat/Dave.

Then I rolled no-gi with Cindy for a while, and worked the Livestock takedown (which I am ***STILL*** not doing right, Gods help me. I don’t know how she maintains her patience with me. It must be like trying to teach a pig to sing.)

One hilarious interlude….. at one point I found myself behind her shoulder and my forearm clamping across her throat. I had about six incredulous seconds of thinking, “What the FUCK??!!?? Is she going to let me have a choke??!?!!” I have never tapped Cindy, or gotten a dominant position that she didn’t gift to me, or held said dominant position for more than about three seconds. If you told me I needed to either tap Cindy Hales or fly to the moon, I’d be hopping around and flapping, because believe me my chances are better there. I was stupefied with shock. Then it suddenly came to light that Rodrigo was talking at her from the sidelines and she had paused to converse with him, only I didn’t notice we were pausing. She then accused me of cheating, and I responded that Rodrigo and I had plotted out that whole double-cross before she arrived.

Surprise, we’re doing no-gi tonight.


Kaia appeared on tributary bank and swooped into the grouping of lanterns without a sound, like a grim spectre. –The Hole In the Clouds

Thursday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Carlos had us take our jackets off and do no-gi, which was great.

I was the last kid picked for the kickball team again today, which got me paired up with Luis. As much as it sucks to be left standing there alone on the wall, I try to see it as a gift when it ends with me drilling with a black belt.

Pummeling to single-leg. Grabbing the heel.

Pummeling with your back against the wall. with the underhooking hand, cup opponent’s shoulder while you drive the overhooking arm deep across between your chests. Pull down with that cup hand while you shove down with the straight arm against hir bicep. This torques the back unpleasantly. Scoot around (toward your cup hand) so that your opponent is now pinned to the wall. End with your foot planted behind hirs.

Opponent begins in KOB. You bridge to jostle hir enough to make space behind hir knee. Hug the knee as you roll in and glue your shoulder to hir leg. Your belt should touch the mat. Get to your knees and press your head and shoulder into opponent’s leg, forcing the knee AWAY from hir centerline, for takedown. As s/he turns body in to you and puts knee up to guard, you dive in and underhook the thigh while ducking your head to the outside of it. Go to the side and get KOB. This is a circular drill.

Many reps. After a while, Carlos took Luis away from me and gave me (blue belt) Peter.

Spars with Peter and three other blue belts. There were no fireworks for me here, but I felt competitive with them. I was moving a little better than I tend to do (albeit still not enough), didn’t get trapped on the bottom *too* much, and I felt more assertive with my grips than I have felt in the past. It definitely seems like the extra effort I’ve been putting into asking people to roll no-gi in recent months is making me feel more confident with it. I even got a “Good job, Keetsune.” from Carlos after my second spar. That feels really nice.

Feelin’ like a purple belt….


A student learning self defense MUST learn force law. Otherwise it is possible to train to go to prison. A self defense response where you wind up behind bars for years is not a very good win. –Rory Miller

Evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Same techniques as this morning, drilling with Chrisanne and Lindsey.

It was one of those days where I inexplicably perform more poorly in the evening doing Round Two of the same thing than I did in the morning when it was new. Not sure why this happens, but it happens a lot… mental exhaustion?

Lindsay caught on very quickly and was doing it so fast and smooth that they eye could barely follow… I think both Chrisanne and I were feeling like drunk dancing grizzly bears in comparison.

Still having trouble with that underhook- which Prof Carlos made a point of stressing (again) is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE WHOLE THING.

One roll with Lindsay, one with Chrisanne, one with Casey. Spent much of Casey’s roll with him standing and trying to pass my open guard. We got into a really nice fast flow-roll space with it. I was a rock star. I had thirty knees and they were whipping around like a buzz saw on ‘roids. I felt like a purple belt, which is a very rare feeling for me. I hope Carlos saw at least a little of that.

Afterward, Lindsay, Casey, Carlos and I stripped half our clothes off and compared tattoos…many of which are Prof. Lindsey’s work. Casey has portraits of Carlos Gracie Sr and Helio in black and white on his flank. They look spectacular.

Push it, old folks….


Even more than strength and agility, awareness is our best weapon: a dynamic awareness that can look simultaneously into the present, the future, and the past. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.


Single leg setups

Single leg setup with takedown

Single leg setup with takedown- opponent grabs half guard- you turn toward hir feet, pressure on neck, pop knee out, turn toward hir head, knee slide through, UNDERHOOK (this was the part I got reprimanded for missing), KOB.

Second verse, same as the first; only now when you KOB, opponent turns into you and places hand on your knee. You take the arm closest to hir feet, underhook hir arm, twirl around hir head and armbar. Opponent does hitch hicker escape, gets to knees. You scoot into hir and grab half guard. S/he does the escape describes in the previous section, to KOB. Rinse, repeat.

I was working with Robert, and I hope I didn’t drive him nuts today, because I was not only tweaking his technique (which got better and better as the hour went on) but cheerleading him relentlessly to push his exhaustion envelope. For those of us who are not 22 any more, I feel that it really lights a fire under our training to give that percieved limitation a big old EFFFF YEEEWWW every once in a while. Besides, it makes such a difference to work with training partners who push you and take a real interest in your progress.

Cindy came in at the end, and it was tortuous to not stay and play with her- but I promised Chrisanne I would be in Bellevue tonight, and I don’t know if I would have enough gas to do so if I stayed to spar this morning.

More sparring


The weapon will not make you safe. It is a tool you can use. –Rory Miller

A solid hour and a half rolling with Kelly. I gave her her choice of gi/no gi, and she picked gi.

I was worried about my right shoulder, which I seem to have wrenched while I was playing with the cop this morning- but apparently it is on that fine line where it twinges a lot while I’m going about my life yet I can mostly ignore it in the heat of battle.

Kelly tapped me three or four times for every one that I got on her, but the ones I got on her were omoplatas- which makes me happy, since I don’t go for those very often and rarely get them when I do. Kelly’s shoulders are rubbery. I had to resort to Cindy’s (mean!) variation, where you latch your arms around the opponent’s head/shoulder and pull up.

Kelly has become one of the few people who can reliably get out of my half guard- using the same trick that Peter has been using (Peter being one other of those very few). She was kind enough to show me how to counter it. 😉

Dawn Patrol


Without a mind reminding it of its limits, the body discovers new sources of energy.
-Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Thursday: because my work schedule is schizophrenic, I was wide awake at 4:30 am and decided to go to Seattle and see what crazy people look like. That is, people crazy enough to go to the 0600 class.

At first, the only crazy people in evidence were the blue belt cop and myself. Later, eight more crazy people trickled in, including Steve (so this is where he’s been hiding!) and Pat the Great Panda.

I spent a solid hour rolling with the blue belt cop, who is medium-sized but ALL muscle- seriously, it felt like rolling with a granite statue.

I wanted to roll with Steve, but after that, I was too tired. And getting really hungry.