She might bake me a cake.

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The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. The hermit crab is a colorful example of a creature that lives by this aspect of the growth process (albeit without our psychological baggage). As the crab gets bigger, it needs to find a more spacious shell. So the slow, lumbering creature goes on a quest for a new home. If an appropriate new shell is not found quickly, a terribly delicate moment of truth arises. A soft creature that is used to the protection of built-in armor must now go out into the world, exposed to predators in all its mushy vulnerability. That learning phase in between shells is where our growth can spring from. Someone stuck with an entity theory of intelligence is like an anorexic hermit crab, starving itself so that it doesn’t grow to have to find a new shell. Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

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Saturday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.

Same thing we did on Thursday, from the butterfly guard….

Same thing we did on Thursday, sprawling on the turtle…..

Begin in side control, opponent (role-playing as a doofus who knows nothing about BJJ) rolls away from you. As hir hip comes off the floor, shoot your leg under it, take the back.

New and incredibly fascinating detail: as you take the back, you may place your forearm on opponent’s jaw and grip your own wrist with the opposite hand, then pull on that grip. This can work if you try for the choke and their chin is too far down- it requires a fulcrum point higher on the face. It’s a very “Cindy” sort of move. (hee hee). She has done this to me. I liked it, though. Once I got the targeting down, I could hit it very smooth, quick and easy. It hurts like a mofo. It seemed like a neck crank to me, although Carlos called it a “crossface” and when I called him over to ask if I would get DQ’ed for doing this in a comp, he waffled. I said to Chrisanne, “Cindy would probably be delighted if I got myself DQ’ed in a tournament for doing something “mean”. She might bake me a cake.” 😉

As per usual on Saturdays, we did many many many drill reps. As I was working with Chrisanne and we had done 2 of these before, we were whipping them out. I was getting pretty tired by the end, and only had enough gas for 2 spars- one with a blue belt I’ve never seen before and one with Z.

That’s because they have been working with CINDY.

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Addiction is huge in crimes…. Because it is one of the few things that we experience in the modern era that imitates survival violence. Whatever you might do for food or water on the edge of death is what an addict will do to feed his addiction. –Rory Miller

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Friday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.

You are sprawled N/S on turtled opponent. Cross right arm over your chest and stick it straight down to the mat beside hir neck as you spin to that side of hir body. Grab hir wrist. Hop to place your right knee against hir, take the back, KEEP THAT WRIST GRIP. This appears to be a straightforward attempt to take the back, but if you keep that wrist grip and throw your leg over opponent’s head as you fall back, it turns into an armbar.

I got this really nice and smooth after several tries…. and then OF COURSE professor walks over to look JUST as I try to do it on the stupid side and mess it all up. Why does he always time it thusly???!!!

Same thing, only opponent clasps hands to try to defend the armbar. You transition back to the backtake.

One spar with Crisanne. She is doing great- assertive, heavy pressure on top, everything really tight. She tapped me twice. I wasn’t going 100%, but I was going hard enough that I was quite impressed with her work. Lindsey rolled with her next, and when I saw him at his studio afterward, he raved (unprompted by me) about how much her jiu jitsu has progressed. He specifically praised her assertiveness (again, unprompted by me). I could just pop with pride. I PM’ed her and told her about it, and told her how proud I am of her.

Dieting angst: I might have had the time and energy for at least one more spar had I not been hungry enough to start chewing the mat. I am not sure how to deal with this issue. I could carry energy bars, but I really don’t want to eat those caloric things while I’m trying to lose weight. I do carry Slim-Fast’s for emergencies, but if I drink one of those and then try to roll, I am pretty sure I’d puke.

After class (and lunch), I went to Lindsey’s studio and we put together my backpiece, part of which is the Ox Head pic that I used on yesterday’s blogpost. I took my own weapons to the studio- we are going to arm him with my own bo staff, K-bar Khukri and Spyderco folding knife. The Victorian goth angel on the other half of the piece is going to have my actual tai chi sword. Lindsey is excited about the art, which is great- it’s always a good thing when your tattoo artist actually likes the piece and you know s/he’s going to enjoy working on it.

Evening BJJ in Bellevue. Doug got a big grin on his face as soon as he walked in and saw me, and challenged me to a death match. I’m feeling so much love from my teammates this week. Honestly, I have just worked with so many awesome drill partners and sparring partners- people who push me, and with whom I have fun, and from whom I learn. I am gonna have to write a gooshy FB post to all three GB pods.

Almost all King Of the Hill from various positions with Prof’s Doug and Sean down. Haven’t done this for a while, and after three classes in two days, this was probably the best possible thing as opposed to trying to cram yet another set of techniques. There were only about 6 of us (besides the Prof’s), so we did not get much downtime.

Did I mention how fortunate I am feeling at class this week??? Six students and three black belts on the mat. Who gets these ratios???? How incredible is this?

Doug and Sean were raving after class about what good wrestlers the two unfamilar (to them) white belts were. I said (since they were familiar to ME!) “Yes, that’s because they are from the Kirkland pod and they have been working with CINDY!!!!!)

Two long spars with Christy. She is also working very hard and doing extremely well. She- like Chrisanne- is very very good about listening to everything I say and incorporating it into her game. I tried to KOB and mount her several times, and she got the hell outta there before I could count 3. I’m so proud of my ladies.

Then one with Doug. Always a treat. I was doing a lot of skating around from side to side on top, very flowy. Something I always can use practice on.

It’s a purple belt world.

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Standing up to a person only draws a line around your territory. Defending it is what keeps you safe. –Marc MacYoung

Sunday: 134.2

I know intellectually that pop bloats you, but it is truly astounding to what extent decreasing (not eliminating, just decreasing) the amount of pop for just two days has deflated the appearance of my protruding Buddha-belly. I swear, dieting would be so much easier if I was more vain about my appearance.

But here’s something that actually MIGHT inspire me: concealing my pistol in its belly-holster may be easier if my belly is flatter. Yeah, that’s it.

Also, when I lose weight, my boobs get smaller. Lord knows, life is better on the martial arts mat with every cup size lower.

Unfortunately, past history has proven that for me- unlike most people- eliminating pop altogether does not result in immediate weight loss.

Monday: 135.6
Tues: 135.6

Eggs- it’s what’s for dinner. And lunch. Tonight my assistant informed me that if I didn’t lay off the carrots, I was going to turn orange. I informed her that I was okay with that, as long as I am FIT and orange.

Thurs: 136

I’ve been really really good all week with food. Less food and wiser choices. Slightly less successful with pop, but I did cut down.

Leslie, Casey and Cindy are all injured and off the mat. I’m feeling grateful and privileged at the moment that I’m not on the bench, because I know well how that feels.

Thurs lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

(blue belt) Jay, looking up and down the line: “We’re the only two blue belts??!”
(blue belt) Nick: “Guess so.”

They look left at the three or four white belts, then they look right at the eight or ten purple belts. Jay mutters something about “………..purple belts…..”

Kitsune: “It’s a purple belt world, Jay.”
Jay: “So they tell me, Kitsune…. so they tell me.”

Standup drills- double legs, single legs, sprawl on opponent’s failed double-leg and then spin around to the side and take the back. Carlos suggested pulling the guy into your lap instead of jumping on hir back.

Opponent kneeling, you in butterfly guard. Cross-grip the arm and yank hir to all fours. Sink one leg into a deep half guard position, then take hir back either by climbing aboard or pulling hir into your lap. I do not feel comfortable with this technique on someone bigger than me (which means 99.9% of people). Once I have that leg sunk in there, all s/he has to do is sink down on it, and I am pinned on the bottom. If s/he’s going to be mean, s/he can just keel over and capsize on top of me and crush me like a cockroach. I am in a position with a very limited set of options, and have no mobility to get elsewhere. Even John was like, “I guess this isn’t really workable for your body,” after we messed with it for a while. I won’t say of a technique, “I _CAN’T_ do X with my body” because every time I try to go there, Cindy (who is as small as I) does it with no problem. So I won’t write it off…. but for my present level, this doesn’t seem like a good one.

Positional sparring from the above position. I sucked from heep half, but I am pretty good at escaping back mount- even after explaining to John exactly what he needed to do to stop me.

A couple of spars.

Thurs evening BJJ in Kirkland. I haven’t been to Kirkland in ages, and I miss Dave. I miss Cindy too, but Mondays and Wednesdays are not good for training, with my present work schedule- I haven’t seen her in a couple of months. 😦

Warmups at Kirkland are longer and more tiring than they usually are at Bellevue. It’s a good thing (pant, puff).

Pummeling. I suggested to white belt that he not bend at the waist, but bend his knees if he finds me too short to comfortably pummel with. He did not straighten up. Okay, fine, buddy, take it or leave it. I don’t care. I’m going to guillotine the snot out of you if you do that while we’re sparring.

Flow drill: You on your back, partner standing, your feet on hir hips. S/he grabs your legs and tosses them to one side, steps to your hip. You shrimp out, cross far leg over top and replace guard.

Guillotines from standing; operating from failed double-leg.

Keylocks from mount. Dave suggests that if we’re having trouble getting opponent’s arms off hir chest, to first press the elbow down and then lever the wrist to the side.

Same entry, then opponent tries to roll away from your keylock. Transition to S mount, do not change grips. Clasp hir arm to your chest and straighten your back. Transition to armbar. You still do not need to change grips. Found myself wanting to, but tried to resist urge.

Same entry, now try to bow and arrow hir instead of armbar. Variation: windshield-wipe your shin against hir back and sit, pulling hir into your lap. Kick that leg out and place it over hir arm.

Also note: it is helpful to take up any slack in that pantleg before securing the grip near the knee.

A few spars.

Really tired. This two-classes-per-day thing is not easy. I am going to try to do it again tomorrow.

Ten seconds!! Ten seconds!!

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If he or she has the right mindset, the killer will beat the fighter almost every time. –Rory Miller

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Yes, even though it seems as if competition is not helping my jiu jitsu right now, it is true that those rigid dates with the tournament scale are good for diet discipline. As soon as I decided to take a break from competing, I promptly gained 5lb. So I decided on a new tactic: my tattoo artist (who, incidentally, just won second place for “best sleeve” at the Seattle Tattoo Expo) has been posting all sorts of rad pics of his work and making me salivate more and more for additional ink. I had told myself that I was going to get my back started the next time I had a benching-level injury, but now I’m thinking that I’m going to use the tat as a carrot (double meaning definitely intended) to get back down to weight. I’m feeling reasonably strong about it at the moment- for the last two days I have not only cut my soda intake by more than half (this is actually the hardest part for me!), I have stocked up on the eggs and carrots, as well as decreasing my portions of everything else and just generally trying to wait a little longer before bowing to hunger and eating something. Even yesterday when I went to the Chinese restaurant with CK (AGAIN!!!!), I ate all the carrots and broccoli on my plate (although I am not fond of cooked veggies) and took half the chicken teriyaki home (it made TWO subsequent diet-sized meals). Yes, rice happened, and I know rice is very bad for me, but I’m still satisfied about the way I handled that. I’m going to take a humongo bag of carrots to work during my next rotation. Work is a dangerous time for the munchies (and the pop).

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. There were only 4 of us there, besides the prof. The five of us were in full agreement that BJJ is MUCH MUCH more important than a Seahawks game. I don’t know what is wrong with those people.

At first it looked like I was going to get paired up with Lance, which is pretty funny… because even at my fattest, he makes about eight of me. I ended up with (white belt) Shawn.

You have closed guard. Yank opponent’s opposite-side sleeve cuff while pulling hir down with your legs. Hug around hir shoulder with your free arm. Now that you have hir arm pinned between your bodies, you can let go of the sleeve and use that arm to reach under hir thigh. Note that your arm should go OVER TOP of hirs. Twist your body into an X formation opposite your opponent’s. (Prof Herbert was using a foot on the hip to help it along; that didn’t seem to be working very well for me). Swing your far leg to help sweep your opponent. It is good to keep your near knee pasted to the back of hir shoulder blade as you swing up on top; as well as keeping that front heel pasted to hir chest- this keeps hir pinned on hir side and you find yourself in S mount (I love S mount). At this juncture you may appreciate why you wanted your arm to go over top of hirs- as you now have that arm pinned along your body and under your armpit. I elected to then step over Shawn’s face and finish the armbar. Herbert was delighted to see me go there, to the point of having me demo the sequence on HIM for the next drilling section (whee!!).

Next: same entry, only now you focus on the fact that as you place your arm over top of opponent’s while reaching for the thigh, you are actually in a rather pleasant position should you choose to bring your other leg over hir face and do an armbar right there. I am always thrilled to drill armbars from guard (or permutations thereof), as I keep thinking these are going to be ideal for my game, yet I continue to fail to integrate them into my live sparring. I have a feeling that if I can ever get that switch flipped and start remembering them under pressure, I’m going to be cracking elbows merrily left and right all day long.

As usual, my technical issue to work on (as pointed out by Herbert) is that I should really try to get my second leg higher up into the opponent’s armpit. With effort, I was able to improve this on one side, but not the other (it seems that my hip is more flexible on one side).

Finishing with a 10-min spar with Shawn. He’s a good partner; not too big, pretty careful, muscles a bit (hey, he’s a white belt) but not too much. I was inspired by the fact that the prof was circling around us watching the whole thing, and I was on top quite a bit, although I started to get really tired in the last few minutes and ended up getting tapped. As Shawn let me up, Herbert said, “Ten seconds left,” and I threw myself at Shawn, shrieking, “Ten seconds!! Ten seconds!!” as I jumped guard and started frantically hauling on his lapels trying to get a choke. Didn’t get one. But it was a fun spar.

MY HOME GYM

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Improvisation consists of three things: situation, tools and location. –Marc MacYoung

Friday:

hiking with CK and JB. We spent a good 4 hours. There was only one section that was downhill enough to pain my knees. The fronts of my thighs were pretty sore from all the double-leg takedowns I did on Thursday. I expected this to work itself out during 4 hours of hiking, but they were still sore at the end and continue to be sore today (Saturday). I don’t mind much, though. It’s that “you worked out hard” good sort of sore. Happily, my ankle held up and is not unduly sore.

Saturday:

Tai chi- and more hiking- planned, but CK came down with a migraine and we only got as far as Eagle Falls. Lovely, but heartbreaking due to the disrespect evidenced by litter and graffiti. I want to take a couple of trash bags down there and pick up, but I don’t have any resources for getting rid of it… I only have trash pickup once a month and I struggle to keep my own output down to that single can. Perhaps I will put out a call for a work party on the local group lists.

Thursday:

30 min on the stationary bike.

I now have an aerial silk rig in my home gym. Excuse me, I just have to say that again because it is so awesome… MY HOME GYM. I will rig one outdoors probably next summer (My budget requires that I space these projects out). The one I have now is of course only long enough to do very simple things a foot off the floor, but I was able to work out how to do a single-foot tie even though it’s been over 2 years (I think) since I’ve set foot in the circus school. I hope the muscle in my upper body comes back. Just hanging for a few seconds is exhausting. But aerial silk is so good for working the ENTIRE body, and is very core-intensive.

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. All spars. Very hot in the gym. Some people had to take breaks, but I did not.

Noticing that even now, the teachers tend to avoid pairing me up with any white belts. I guess that’s the safest call, but I can’t help wondering (again) if beating up some white belts might help me feel less inept. I wonder if I should go out of my way to try to play with white belts more often. Of course this plan will backfire if the white belts all end up cleaning my clock. It is also playing with fire as far as injury risk goes. Hmmm.

After that, I met CK and we tried to knock each other over. We didn’t do any actual striking- it was all balance/weight shift stuff- but it felt very weird to be doing standup when it’s been so long. At first I felt like my body was trying to do contact improv instead of sparring. Then it occurred to me that thinking of it in that way might help me to do less force-on-force (which is not productive for my body against 99% of normal people) and more moving around.

Not quite cauliflower

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Maintaining honor and winning are indirect goals. Killing is a direct goal. Working toward direct goals peels a lot of bullshit off of your tactics. –Rory Miller

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup: double leg setups.

Then, double-leg setup switching to a rear bear hug. Trap the far arm (not the one on the side you circled around on), and point your face toward the trapped arm so that you don’t get an elbow in the nose.

I thought I could go without my headgear for a while….. it’s so damn hot…. and wound up getting “not-quite-cauliflower-but-getting-there”. Just from pressing the side of my head against the guy’s gi while I was doing the double-leg setups. Silver lining: this does prove that I’m being good about keeping my head up and pasted well against his side.

Armbars from KOB.

Spar with John. I managed to twist my bad ankle. I’m limping on it now, which ticks me off because I have a day of hiking planned tomorrow.

Spar with Amy, finally. She is pretty tough, but I was happy to see that I could handle her. I did notice a few improvement points for her, which I hope were helpful.

Evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Double leg setups again, which I was not thrilled about due to my gimpy ankle and the fact that my knees where still whimpering about the previous round of double leg setups. Carlos showed us a new one, involving grabbing both heels (one from the outside, one from the inside). He didn’t really talk about the shoulder pressure on the leg, but I was pleased to note that even though I have never seen anything like this before, I was able to ID that shoulder pressure on that particular spot as the REAL meat of the technique.

You are in side control and moving to mount, opponent bridges toward you, you pop over hir back and S-mount. Advance to armbar or ezekiel, depending on whether the arm is over or under yours. I struggled with this because I had to keep pausing to note where the arm was and then try to remember which option that meant taking.

A little KOtH from closed guard, pass vs sweep. I did pretty poorly at this, despite the fact that we were divided into 3 weight classes and I didn’t have to deal with the behemoths tonight. I was getting pretty tired by this time.

One roll with Lindsey. I got a tap, which made me happy, as she makes me work for it.

I’m having some trouble keeping my weight from creeping up, now that I’m taking a break from comps. I’m trying to gear up to go on a little diet. I think disciplining myself about snacking at work is going to be a major key right now.

I’ll never forget…..

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To achieve an elite standard of personal performance usually requires a fair amount of natural ability, motivation and commitment. It does not follow that an elite martial artist also has the ability to pass those skills on to others at all levels. In fact, the opposite is usually true. To become an elite performer usually means that the student has natural ability and therefore learns skills quickly and easily. A great degree of self-motivation and commitment is also required and such performers generally find little difficulty in applying themselves to the rigors of training, grading and competition. Since very few students achieve such high levels of performance, too often a coach does not understand the needs of these “lesser mortals” who are in fact the majority. When one looks at specific groups such as junior, female, male, elderly, competitive, aggressive, shy, introverted, or combinations of these, many martial arts coaches in the past have been- to say the least- underprepared.    Tony Gummerson, “Teaching Martial Arts”

————–
Friday:
I read a book that basically gutted me. Have you ever read a book in which the sadist- I mean the author- makes you totally fall in love with a character and then tortures that character with an endless litany of events that are a thousand times worse than death? Till you’re almost hoping the poor sap just buys it, but you don’t think you can handle that? I read a *LOT*, and this is only the second book that has made me feel like that to an extent that it made me feel actually traumatized. In addition, I’ve only read 4 books in my life in which a character death has made me cry. So this was a double-slam. And it was book 3 in a series, so I was already in love with the character by the start of book 3… there was no lead-in or warm-up, she started torturing my poor dear on page 1 and didn’t stop till the epilogue. I didn’t really want to read book 3, because by the end of book 2 I knew there was absolutely no way this was going to not end in savage and bitter heartbreak… but I couldn’t bear to not find out what happened.

I know this is partly because I’ve had a difficult week and incredibly little sleep, but I’m feeling really gutted and raw right now.
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Thursday:

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. Standing guard pass drills to KOB to start. These squat-heavy techniques are hard on me and John, especially at the beginning of class, when it’s THIS hot, and when it goes on for about five years. Prof. Herbert had the timer set to ding every twenty seconds, so every twenty seconds we would stop, panting, and look pleadingly at him- but he made us keep going…. and going…. and going…..

Same thing, only starting from spider guard. When opponent straightens one leg, you step on the thigh of the OTHEr (bent) leg and pass to that side, yanking both the leg and sleeve as you move into KOB.

Same thing yet again, but now instead of KOB, paste the top of your foot to the opponent’s shoulder blade and place the other one over hir neck. Armbar. This was a classic Herbert move- he likes these things where he gets his strong, short legs in there and hooks his toes all over you and then subs you to death. As usual, what works well for him seems to be working well for me, although of course he does it about a zillion times faster and more gracefully. But I was already nicely set up to segue into this, as I had been setting up a bit of a straight armbar while doing the KOB.

A little positional sparring from spider guard.

Sparring with John, then Ed. Ed ankle locked me about ten times in a row. He looks like he could be doing his taxes while he tools me.
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Evening in Bellevue:

Luis is injured and specifically asked me if I would work with him. I know this is mostly because I am tiny, but I do like to think there’s at least a LITTLE aspect of me being trustworthy and safe for the injured to work with. He did, however, bring up that time I ran over to him while he was lying on the mat and dropped into front mount and apparently did not catch myself QUITE as high on my knees as I had intended- he moaned like he was dying, and I felt AWFUL…. that happened about 3 years ago and I’ll never forget it- but I was really hoping that he had!!!! No such luck!!! I asked him if he still loves me anyway, and he said yes.

He let me do more than my share of the drills, since they were hurting his injury… although he had to tell me several times to be heavier (I was trying to be gentle on his injury). When he admonished me to be heavier in N/S, I whined that I was trying to not smother him with my enormous belly. He laughed for a really long time when I said that.

“Around the world” flow drills: side control to scarf to N/S to scarf to side control, etc etc. At the end, we did some front mount as well. Luis suggests using my forehead heavy on opponent’s belly in N/S. It was quite immobilizing when he demo’ed it on me.

N/S, pull both of your opponent’s gi tails under hir armpits and snug them in as tight as you can. If s/he is wiggling around, it actually makes this easier than if s/he is just lying there. Then hop up to your feet and step forward so that you force opponent into a sitting position. There should be very little pulling involved, unless you really WANT to work that hard for some reason. Sit back down in back mount and squeeze opponent between your knees. Grab for the choke immediately. When s/he goes to defend the choke, sink the hooks in and immediately roll to the side (NOT to your back, and make sure you pick the correct (pillow) side).

Everyone has been asking me if I’ve had a chance to work with Amy (Dex’s wife, blue belt, professional MMA fighter), and she was there tonight, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen her. I would have liked to spar with her, but not in the shape I was in at that juncture. She has a big-deal fight scheduled next month and is training very seriously right now, and I was way too tired at that point to be able to press her.

Welcome to jiu jitsu.

bjj989

The duelist is interested in winning, in maintaining honor. The professional (criminal) is interested in killing, as quickly and efficiently as possible. –Rory Miller

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

White belt #1: “How’s your knee doing?”

White belt #2: “It’s a little better now, but yesterday I wrenched the &#^$ out of my elbow……”

Kitsune: “Welcome to Jiu Jitsu, where you repeatedly acquire a new injury before your previous injury has healed. You will never be healthy again.”

To their credit, they seemed psyched by this instead of troubled. Those are the types that might stick it out.

Standup, judo grips. Take your foot on the side that you’re gripping the LAPEL (and note that in this technique you want a deep, back-of-the-neck grip), and cross it so that you whack opponent’s opposite shin with your instep. Stomp the foot to the floor between hir feet, turn, and jerk partner off balance with the gi grips. You are shoving hir down with the lapel grip and pulling hir toward you with a twist using the sleeve grip. (I love these takedowns that involve twisting the person so that the back of their shoulder is forced toward the floor.) Now kick your heel up (the same active foot that you were using before) and displace the leg. If your jerk was effective, the opponent’s weight should be on that leg and s/he should go down as if poleaxed.

If this does not work, follow up by shoving opponent away from you while you use the same active foot to shoot out and inward-hook opponent’s OTHER leg.

Ideally you want to have control of that knee as s/he lands on hir back. I had to ask Prof Herbert which grip to release in order to do that. You release the lapel grip and grab for the inside of the knee pantleg grip. I guess it was a good question, as he then chose to build upon the technique thusly:

Now that you have the person on the ground on hir back with one knee between your knees, and you have an elbow grip (on the outside) and a pantleg grip (inside of knee)….. donkey-kick that inside leg out and go to KOB.

Next: opponent turns in to you and pushes on your knee. Now armbar.

Chrisanne and I discovered that doing the takedown on one’s stupid side- while not very much more difficult- resulted in the opponent having a MUCH harder time both staying balanced as well as being able to do anything helpful while falling. This would only be true of right-handed people, presumably. But the difference was marked enough that it would be reasonable to make a concerted effort to drill this on the dumb side.

One roll with Chrisanne and one with that flexible blue belt guy (I really need to remember his name….) I got a choke on him that he was very admiring of. Many people have been praising me a lot lately. It doesn’t seem to be having any effect at all on my poor self-appraisal.

FTS

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“It’s not ‘I get a turn and then you get a turn’… it’s all my space and it’s always my turn” – Greg Hamilton

Wednesday:

I bailed on Saturday’s ceremony.

I feel terrible about it. It is not in my nature to flake out on commitments. In fact I reserve some of my most venomous contempt for people who do that. If I tell you that I am going to do X, then you can rest assured that by God I am going to do X, even if I have to move Heaven and Earth to get it done. I have gone to ridiculous lengths to fulfill minor obligations. It is a pillar of my personal identity- my moral integrity. And this is Jen’s biggest event of the year. Only three days away. And I’m well aware that she was already electrified with stress even BEFORE I bailed.

I assured Jen yesterday (for about the fourth time) that I would indeed be there and that I would be ready to do my part. This was not good enough for her. Over the course of the day she sent me four more messages bugging me for further intercourse. She wanted assurance that there is not friction between us, and she still wanted me to explain exactly what I planned to do (right down to what I was fucking THINKING) so that (presumably) she could inform me that I was “doing it wrong”. When I saw all those missives piled in my box, I was like, that’s it- Fuck This Shit. Aside from my own discomfort- which is a negligible consideration weighed against the integrity of my commitment- it is plain at this point that she is stressing over this to a level that I truly think that dealing with me was causing her more angst than having to replace me will.

I hate drama. I have a traumatic past in drama. I do not appreciate people trying to drag me into their drama when I have made it clear that I do not wish to go there. The last thing I wanted was a BEDS (Big Emotional Drama Scene) three days before the event. Unfortunately, there was *NO* way to get around it. I’m sure I’m going to get some guilt-inducing and stressful nastygrams. But seriously, I think any reasonable person would have said FTS a long time ago. I’m done.
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Thursday:

I blocked Jen for the time being; I will probably have to read her mail at some point, and it’s going to upset me, but I didn’t want to even be tempted to engage in any further drama before the rit- nor do I want to get talked into changing my mind about quitting.

Another community member messaged me when he saw that I was leaving. He’s watched Jen do this same thing to a number of people, so we indulged in a little pop-psychology analysis. It’s an interesting study in self-sabotage. It’s always easier to dissect these things when it’s not you. I don’t think I was self-sabotaging, in this case, although certain other of my problem issues definitely played a role. Yet since self sabotage is a persistant crime of mine, particularly visible in my MA training, it warrents pondering as pertains to my own situation.

Lamont messaged me to mention the Proving Grounds Championship. I figured I wouldn’t qualify anyway, but apparently I do. I had skipped the Revolution this past weekend, and had not planned to do the PGC or anything else. I still haven’t come up with any new insights or ideas on the defeatism barrier.

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Thursday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Glenn! He’s been out for about a year. So delightful to see him back. I got to drill with him, too.

Drills- from standup, pulling spider guard. Then same, with partner proceeding to pass. Then some positional sparring, starting from establishment of the spider guard. Then postional training starting from sitting on the floor in what Carlos called “double guard pull”. After a while, Carlos switched out partners and gave me a young, long-legged blue belt who huffed and puffed like an overweight basset hound. Since it was also hotter than hell in there tonight, this was not helping him. We talked a lot about breathing. I also gave him several other suggestions as we went. I know that it was because he was breathing wrong, but I still found it rather gratifying- given our respective ages- that I had to repeatedly chivvy him along when he was literally on the brink of collapsing.

A few rolls with Allison. I haven’t seen him in a while either. He’s always great to roll with. He handled me, of course, but I think I made him work a little harder than he has had to work to handle me in the past. I finally had to cry his mercy, though, because I just became too exhausted to continue. He complimented my on my back mount escape. I had escaped his back mount four or five times, usually by grabbing his gi top and squirming around till we were chest to chest (him usually on the bottom at that point). I said, “I thought you were being nice and giving me room to get out,” and he said, “No, I was trying.” Which, given his skill level, I’m going to take as a compliment even if he’s fudging a bit.

At that point I was way too tired to jump on Glenn, so I promised to get him next time.