Tripod sweep


Changing the world has nothing to do with altruism or with trying to be a good Samaritan. Ultimately, since everything is connected, helping others inevitably means helping ourselves. At the highest level, there is no difference between egoism and altruism. It is a karmic ping-pong game. All our actions come back to us. Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday lunchtime BJJ at Kirkland.

Tripod sweep: Begin in standup with judo grips. Step on opponent’s hip on the side that you control hir elbow. Drop to back, swing free leg out, bring it back in and place on opponent’s other hip. Now: remove your first foot and stick it between opponent’s feet. Trip that foot while you grab the other heel. As s/he falls, let the momentum pull you up, take side control.

I like this sweep- it’s so technically beautiful- but I have always struggled with it because there is so much going on at once. That one hand grip remains, so that’s easy- but you have the other three limbs doing three different things, and it has to be simultaneous and smooth. I think this is one of those things that’s not really going to click for me until I get a few more levels up, and can see the big picture logic instead of stressing about which leg to hook and which hip to be on.

Same setup, only now the opponent steps hir foot back when you try to grab the heel. Quickly scoot up so that you’re sitting on hir foot and hugging hir shin with the INSIDE arm. Fold your legs to the outside. You can post with the free hand- you don’t have to try to hang onto hir. Fold hir leg inward and move to side control.

For both of these techniques, a familiar problem arose- I continue to let go of the far pantleg. If I can remember to keep that, it will prevent hir from scooting either into me to replace guard or away from me to escape.

Third technique: pull guard from standing, yank opponent down on chest, when s/he postures up, go with hir and either kimura or situp sweep. Dave points out that I am not assertive enough about controlling the opponent’s arm. I tend to get fixated on trying to haul my elderly butt up far enough to bear the opponent’s trunk down, and I fail to grab the arm firmly enough, pull it deep enough, or clasp it close enough. Sometimes I forget to grab it at all.

This was an exhausting class because of all the up-down-up-down-up-down. Dave is a great partner, always encouraging when he sees I’m getting tired.

A little KOTH from standing- try to pull guard. Whomever succeeds them tries to sweep or submit, while the pull-ee tries to pass.

I was too exhausted physically and mentally to spar afterward.

I registered for Proving Grounds, in my usual bracket even though I’m right on the edge and have only 1 week to make sure I make weight. I almost registered one weight class up just to be safe, but that one was 135-155. I really do not want to fight 155-lb people. Although it probably won’t matter, we will almost certainly be combined anyway.

Move your head.


Stopping violence or potential violence is a separate issue from “justice”- motive and mental competency are keys to determining the level of criminal culpability, but are irrelevant to whether someone must be stopped before they hurt somebody. –Rory Miller

Thurs “advanced” class in Bellevue. This turned out to be a combined class- Prof Carlos is at Worlds, I think…. Prof Jamie taught us.

Cross collar choke from guard, Kimura from guard, situp sweep from guard, hip throws, pulling guard from standing, pulling guard from standing and then transitioning to armbar. I was working in a trio with Nadine and Chrisanne, and was able to give them some good hints and feedback (such as, MOVE YOUR HEAD TO THE SIDE before you swipe someone’s posting arms off your belly and yank them down on your chest in closed guard). As amusing as it can be to watch white belts bash their foreheads together, I just don’t have the heart.

Positional sparring from closed guard and spider guard.

One spar with Casey and a couple with Chrisanne. Chrisanne was working tighter tonight. I did have to remind her to assertively jump on me right off the fist bump instead of sitting back on her haunches and waiting meekly to get shoved to the mat. But she was feeling really heavy on top tonight, and doing a good job controlling all my parts so that I couldn’t effectively get out of her scarf or side control.

I will unfortunately be missing Friday evening class- my cat is having surgery tomorrow, and I will have to stay home in the evening and keep an eye on him. I’m all out of good library books, and most of my PSG packing is finished- so maybe I will actually get a little writing done? Made another batch of cat food last night with the tape player going- the stirring of the creative juices put an intriguing new scene into my mind. Need to stay out of the kitchen, at any rate- especially with the missed class. I’m going to have to be really careful if I want to make weight for next weekend. I’m right on the edge. My fridge is full of eggs, but all I want is pizza!

Sunday KOTH


“…he had begun to understand the great principle that moved the universe, at least that part of the universe which had to do with careers and success: you found the crazy guy who was running around inside of you, fucking up your life. You chased him into a corner and grabbed him. But you didn’t kill him. Oh no. Killing was too good for the likes of THAT little bastard. You put a harness over his head and then started plowing. The crazy guy worked like demon once you had him in the traces. –Stephen King

Sunday BJJ in Seattle.

It’s been great to do BJJ four days in a row, at 3 different Gracie Barra pods. I’m tired now.

I don’t usually get to go to Sunday class any more, but I had today off for a change because I’m working the holiday tomorrow.

It’s usually a bunch of guys 180-and-up in there on Sundays, but today there was a woman white belt, a small-side male blue belt, and Ben, aside from the usual selection of behemoths.

KOTH from various positions. I was getting really muscled around by a big white belt and a couple of the blue belts. I finally told the white belt that he should try to use technique on me, because he could “strength” me into doing whatever he wanted, but he wan’t learning anything from that. One of the blue belts seemed to figure it out for himself, after we struggled for a while and then he got frustrated and finished me by Hulking a sweep through. I said nothing, but he immediately made a disparaging comment about using poor technique. The next time we got matched up, he was much less Hulky and seemed to be putting forth some effort to do something technical.

One roll with the woman (Emma). She is pretty good. Great side control, weight, positioning. Gave her some pointers for her back mount attempts, during which she attempts to fall backward before getting tight enough.

Ankle- some twangs, and it continues a general low-level ache, but nothing major.

Came home and watched a rafter die at the river access point across the street. The Skykomish is both lovely and occasionally merciless.

“No pants! No pants!”


Self-defense is far more difficult emotionally than physically. The mechanics, in other words, are simpler and for most people easier than the will aspects. –Rory Miller

Saturday no-gi in Kirkland.

Partner drills- hip-ups, armbars from guard, pummelling.

Arm drags from standing, take the back. Partner pushes down your 2nd arm as it comes around, steps out with hip thrust, turn to face you.

You in butterfly guard, partner on knees. You arm drag and scoot under to deep half. KEEP THE ARM (this was my error). Hook the foot and move shin out. This torques the person’s knee and makes them unlikely to argue when you pull them into back mount.

Same entry, this time you post and brace forearm across hir collarbone. Scoot butt out a bit. Bring foot (on the opposite side as you have the armbrace) underneath and hook toe on the outside of opponent’s knee. Swim your armbrace to underhook as you place your forehead against the collarbone instead. Plow forehead into opponent’s chin (this sucks mightily to be on the recieving end of, and distracts you from protesting the rest of the technique) as you grab hir tricep to keep hir from posting and butterfly sweep her to front mount.

KOTH from back mount. I was sucking so badly here today, badly enough for Cindy to notice and get disgusted with me. I recieved a long lecture on my persistant 1)failure to mount any offense, and 2)insistance on being too nice to my partners to the point that I am not doing the techniques correctly out of reluctance to discomfit them. This discussion was accompanied by tactile learning aids in the form of a brutal elbow to the breastbone that forced some embarrassing sounds from me. I was informed that I do not need to be nice to Pedro or Aussie Dave, who both assured me smilingly that this is true. Aussie Dave is just one of the downright sweetest people I know, and my mind quails from the image of me grinding my forearm into his throat.

One spar with Aussie Dave, then I watched Cindy roll with Jill. I yelled at Jill that this was no-gi and she had to let go of Cindy’s pants. For the rest of the roll, she kept grabbing pants and then letting go like she’d been burned, squawking in dismay, “No pants! I forgot! No pants!”

Ankle is a little worse today. It seemed to be doing reasonably okay on Thursday, but it did not like Friday or Saturday training. I can still see visible swelling. Must dig out ankle brace.

A blue belt in Eenglish.


As a warrior, you are given weapons very few people possess. The self-confidence of a wild animal, a spirit that can’t be broken, the tranquility of one whose roots are too deep to be disturbed by minor events. If you don’t change the world, certainly no one else will.
Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. I really enjoy Friday evenings in Bellevue- partly because there tends to be a whole bunch of black belts on the mat, and partly because Doug is there. I always enjoy Doug. This evening I got to enjoy Chrisanne again as well.

Standup: Grip your partner’s same-side wrist on the outside, then hir tricep on the inside. Yank. Fast and hard. This was a little challenging with my left-and-right dyslexia, but it was fun to work the precision and speed. With a good hard yank, you can almost get them to turn their back to you.

You on butt, partner standing and gripping your pants at the knee. Same grabs as before, only you are now using them to stand up. Place chest on partner’s thigh, pick up leg and pinch it between your own legs. Now you can take down with a variety of techniques, or move to the back. Note that you want to try to trap opponent’s near arm as well, if possible. When Prof Herbert demo’ed this on me, he didn’t haul his weight on my arm at ALL. I tend to be a hauler, especially with someone like Chrisanne whom I might well be able to haul right into a stumble or even a fall. But this pointed up the subtle differences between my getting up and Herbert’s getting up, which as you may expect showed quite a gap in both speed and smoothness.

Some positional sparring, one person on butt and one person standing and gripping pants at knee. I focussed on variations of the previous technique. I was excited when Chrisanne both a)thwarted my tomoe nagi with good placement of her tiny, tiny weight, and b)flummoxed a different takedown attempt in which I tried to sweep her front way, then back way in rapid succession. I set up both of these pretty smoothly and without a lot of telegraphing. Proud of her. We also revisited that armbar setup that she had been working on last time, and this time it was much tighter with all the details pretty much perfect.

A few spars- Chrisanne, Kevin, Doug (no-gi with Doug). Chrisanne was tired- she’s still trying to build back from being out for a while- but if you push her a little and give good encouragement/feedback, she rises to the challenge and it’s so much fun to see. Kevin- he’s good and tends to have me on the ropes, but tonight I seemed to have about eighteen butterfly hooks and kept him smoothly in open guard most of the time, even threatened a handful of subs. This whole threatening-of-subs thing is still kind of new to me, and I’m surprised when it happens. Especially when there are threatenings of omoplatas, which just don’t really tend to come easily to me.

Doug was fun, as always. He didn’t let me tap him, but let me get really close a number of times. I pulled off a couple of nice techniques with him.

Ankle is still sore, and I had to give up a position a couple of times to Kevin in order to protect it. But I can mostly function. I didn’t ask everybody to baby me tonight.

I told Prof. Herbert that his English is a lot better. I’m impressed. He replied, “By next year, I weel be a blue belt een Eenglish.” He can teach a whole class now and pretty much communicate with you on his own, as long as you’re not talking astrophysics or something. There was one funny moment when he was demo’ing with Doug, and said, “Don’t put your hand here, because eef he does THEES, then….” he made a twitching motion with his extended elbow and looked to Doug for help, at which point Doug supplied, “POP”. Herbert: “Yes, POP.” Hee hee hee.

Dru wants me to show her some defensive techniques that she can do with her cane, and ways to get up off the ground. She is pretty mobility-challenged. I’m excited about showing her some things.

It was raining cats and dogs today, so I didn’t get to do any hiking.

Let’s flow roll.


Get in shape. It makes you look less like a victim, plus it also makes life more fun. Your own body is the best toy you will ever have. It’s more fun tuned up. –Rory Miller

Fri: 134.6

Typical. Skip one class, gain over a pound and a half. Ankle’s better today, though, Still ugly, but I can walk down stairs without having to take them one at a time and pause on each one.

Thurs: 135.4

Dayum 😦

Thursday evening “advanced” class in Bellevue.

A few minutes of drills: you on your back, partner standing and holding your knees. Get up (correctly) and segue into a takedown. Note that getting up “correctly” usually involves lead foot penetrated deeply between opponent’s feet.

The rest of the class was a series of 8 minute spars with rotating partners.

I started with Peter, and we agreed to go light and easy because of my ankle. We flow rolled, and that was perfect to ease back in. Shrimping on the bad side was- bad, but I didn’t have any other major issues today. I was careful, and asked all my partners to be careful.

Nadine- found out that she is a judo practitioner, which explains a lot.

Chris was there, it was very nice to see him after a long time.

I am on the bench.

The outside of my left ankle looks like it has a half of a tennis ball sewn under the skin, and I’m walking like an old lady.

To add insult to injury, I have an aural hematoma. A small one, and in a fairly unobtrusive place- I’m just going to leave it unless it really starts to blow up- but c’mon. I only did one and a half classes without my earguards. I guess there will be no more of that, ever.

A fierce pixie


Many people train and prepare by walking along the way of the warrior, but never discover- or maybe just forget- what battle they have been training for. The battle rages in front of their eyes and they don’t realize it. The small psychodramas of daily life distract them to the point of taking away their global vision and making them forget why they set out walking the warrior’s path in the first place. Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Evening BJJ in Bellevue. It has been a long time since I did a Too-fer. It makes Carlos so happy. He made a huge deal out of it.

Jumped on Daniel before class and rolled around with him a little, then Ross.

Same things we were doing this morning. Unfortunately, as I started to get tired on Round Deux of the rapid fancy footwork, I got sloppy (as so often happens). As I dodged to the left and put my foot down, the ankle rolled out. I have done exactly this before. I really need to pay good conscious attention to my tendency to do these things when I get tired.

I have done worse, but it hurts. I had to stop and writhe around on the mat for a while, holding my foot, while Carlos jumped in to finish the drill set with my partner. I was then able to continue, but had to opt out of sparring at the end. I was annoyed at having driven all the way back into Bellevue and not being able to spar, especially when I am trying to drop a couple pounds. I had also been hoping to get in some more hiking this weekend. Now I’m not sure if I’ll even be able to do any classes tomorrow. I won’t really know how bad it is till morning.

I was drilling with a little bitty blue belt that I have never seen before- Nadine. She can’t be any bigger than Chrisanne. But what a fierce little pixie. She was kicking my ass. I gave up three or four taps to her during the positional sparring. I was being careful to not use weight or strength on her; her technique was (mostly) good, and I just didn’t feel like escalating. My ego only whined a little bit… and only because it seemed like Carlos and Herbert were both standing right there watching us much of the time. Carlos actually stopped us at one point to tell her to back off on the elbow/forearm grinding into my ear and face.

I got this note from Chrisanne:

“You are a very thoughtful, aware training partner. You teach me, you push me, you make me work to be the best I can. That’s why I like working with you.”

Wow. That feels great.

K on yer B


Don’t mess with your brain chemistry. Your brain is a finely balanced machine. You can usually make it stupider with chemicals, not smarter. Don’t be dumb on purpose. –Rory Miller

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Opponent lying on floor, you standing at hir feet. Pass to the side, using hand to press hir knees away from you. KOB.

Same, adding: place hands on opponent’s shoulders and transition to KOB on the other side.

Same, adding: step around opponent’s head and return to KOB on the first side. This involves only two steps, and you continue to face forward. (Dance experience realy helped me with this maneuver…)

Same, adding: similar transition back to KOB on the opposite side AGAIN, only this time you are facing hir feet while you do it. Opponent turns in to you and places hand on your knee. Spinning armbar (yup, back to the OTHER side again).

Positonal sparring from KOB.

Positional sparring from open guard.

One roll with Danny and one with Ed.

I have been 133lb all this week, eating a lot of eggs, would like to get back down to 127.

It’s illegal


Stealing from the gods the fire of passion and creativity to lighten our life is just the first step of the trip, not the destination. Passion and creativity are not our private property, not our very own toys. They are the sparks lighting the fire of a big tribal camp. Having talent and not cultivating it is a crime, but cultivating it without sharing its fruits with others may be even worse. In its highest form, the way of the warrior is that of the bodhisatva: putting one’s talent at the service of a superior destiny. Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Lunchtime no-gi at Kirkland.

Some pummelling, some double leg setups. The double leg setups we were doing today…. 1)begin with feet square so as not to telegraph. 2)begin at very close range. 3) from pummel, make sure you trap or duck under opponent’s wrist on that side when you drop. 4)Step FAR in. I never step far enough. Foot should be between opponent’s feet and BEHIND them. 5)placement of the OTHER foot is eternally problematic for me. I tend to step *too* far forward with that one, and also too close to opponent. (See how I have exact opposite problems with each foot? Welcome to my world.) The hand placement, the upright back, and the head pressure I seemed to be doing (mostly) right this time (note this is about the eight millionth time Cindy has gone over this technique on a personal and intensive level with me).

Keylocks from front mount. I was corrected for failing to use the thumbless “monkey paw” grip. Also for not having the elbow close enough to the opponent’s head. When jumping from low grapevining front mount to high mount in the armpits, move more quickly. Pull the head off the mat to keep opponent from bridging.

If opponent joins hands to defend the keylock, go to kimura grip. I need to focus on keeping opponent’s arm folded firmly. S mount. Take the foot closest to opponent’s head and fold the shin back along hir back. Pull opponent’s head and shoulders into your lap. This rolls hir over your shin, which you can now use to pin hir arm. Opponent is now in a triangle, facing away from you, with hir head and shoulders in your lap. Choke way up to right under hir armpit- you do not want opponent’s ribs inside this triangle. Now you can let go of the kimura grip and grab your own ankle as you post on the mat with your other hand. Readjust the triangle so that your shin is shoved horizontally right under opponent’s chin. Now you have to scoot yourself all the way around hir head until you are lying on your side and can grab one of opponent’s legs.

This particular technique makes me very, very relieved that Dave is now usually the demo dummy. This one hurts. Badly. In all sorts of ways.

A few rolls- Dave, Cindy, a guy I don’t know. I wasn’t doing very well today in the sparring. Last night I had been marvelling that I felt competant in sparring, so I’m not surprised… it is common to have a “wow, I suck” day right after you start to feel like you might know what you are doing. BJJ likes to keep you humble that way.

Cindy also informed me that the bicep slicer that Prof Herbert showed us last night is illegal. Dang. I liked that trick. Herbert failed to mention that it is illegal. I’m really glad she told me that before I did it to somebody.

Chopped off all my hair today. Feeling kind of self conscious. With the long, long, red “mermaid hair”, that’s all everyone ever looks at. Now I feel like people might notice my body and clothes or something. It’s sure going to be nice to be able to do BJJ for a while without that spandex cap, though. And without having wet hair for three hours after the shower.