Squirming, twisting, squirreling, and squirting


Your body is not designed to improve under conditions of comfort. It improves under stress. –Rory Miller

Lunchtime BJJ in Edmonds.

This is my first visit to the Edmonds GB pod. It is a nice space with a wall of windows lighting it up. No shower, though. 😦 Griff was a very nice host. He rolled with me (and some standup, too), and as always he is full of good advice and lots of personal attention.

Unfortunately, it’s a bitch of a drive, so this will not be a regular occurrance. But I wanted to get a chance to get choked by Georgette at least once before I die. It was also nice (as it always is) to see and roll with Griff, and I also got to finally meet Dandelion. I have been hearing about her for a long time, and now I know why. Geez, is she ever good. Tiny little thing, but very strong and with a TIGHT, technical game.

Likewise Georgette. That was really fun. I spent too much time trapped under her, and she tapped me repeatedly, but I managed to stave her off for a while. I got one nice hip throw. Of course, when I went for it again, she was like, Hellz to the no, you are not doing to that me a second time. Unfortunately, I could not meathook behind her neck because she has an injury, so that hampered my standup game. But it’s great to be able to work standup, and she wants to work it too, so that’s perfect.

Working with someone closer to my size being a relatively rare thing, I was struck by a few points that are not new revelations, but more of “You know this is an issue, and here’s a glaring spotlight on why”.

1)It does not even occur to me to try sweeps, pretty much EVER. We worked on a couple of sweeps today, and I was able to pull them off on Georgette, and they felt very nice.

2)I continue to stick one arm up over my head and allow it to get trapped. Georgette tapped me at least four times with this, and yet I continue to do it.

3)As Griff points out (and Georgette and I both heartily agreed), at the purple belt level you have to really do an overhaul of your game because the sloppy shit you managed to make work up till now, it is not working so hot against your purple-belt-and-up opponents. You have to unlearn a crap ton of bad habits and clean up sloppy technique. In particular, I was noticing today how heavily I tend to rely on compressing my tiny, flexible body and simply squirming, twisting, squirreling, and squirting out of everything without employing any actual TECHNIQUE. That stuff was not flying AT ALL today with Georgette or Dandelion, who were very very tight and did not give me enough room to pull those tricks.

4)I continue to reflexively do a number of things- as well as reflexively avoiding certain things- simply because I assume I will get crushed, manhandled or otherwise overwhelmed. Most of these things are so instinctive by now that I don’t realize I am doing them, much less why. With an opponent closer to my own size, some of those things WERE actually possible. Or at least I should TRY them. I’m feeling kind of dismayed at how different my game really *needs* to be in- say- tournament environs with a female in my weight class, as opposed to my everyday game with larger young men.

I am really exhausted and sore right now. It feels great. I am going to be hurting in the morning.



When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.

Robert has passed away. I am very unhappy. I knew that he had cancer, but I had no idea that the end was so imminent. Robert was so strong and vigorous, and worked like a dog, I just assumed that he would be one of those people who goes, “F You, cancer!” and thirty years later he’s still on the mat. But it was quick.

He was liked and respected by all. He was the humblest guy on the mat, even though he was a high-level black belt in another art. He came in here in his 60’s, put on a white belt, and busted his ass till he got to purple. I wrote on his FB that he is an inspiration to live up to. I hope that when I am his age, I am still kicking ass as hard as he was kicking it.

Interesting pre-class weapons discussion with (big, blue-belt) John. He had a Japanese weapon that looked like a forearm-long metal spike, with one curving piece at the hilt. We were discussing the practical merits of adding this and other weapon options during grappling. I can think of all sorts of juicy things to do with a short stick while grappling.

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. All spars. Chrisanne was a rock star today. Aggressive, technical, attending to every small detail. Best of all, I rolled with her first and last, and her last roll (when she was really tired) was almost as awesome as her first.

Suranjen is still letting me tap him multiple times. I don’t know why he has been rolling like this with me. I don’t know how to ask.

Evening BJJ in Kirkland. Dave likes to exhaust the spazzy white belts before teaching technique. He does this by making the class run laps, then do alternating drills of pummelling and side control-scarf-mount flow drills till we are all reeling and dripping.

Basic closed guard break, knee up, slide through. Lots of attention to many small details.

Then, once you have the guard broken and knee up, disengage and then come back in for a bullfight pass.

One spar with Dave and one with Leone.

Move your heaps!


All valuable training happens outside the comfort zone. Physically, mentally, emotionally you have to push the envelope. It’s gotta hurt. -Rory Miller

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Warmup roll with white belt Shawn. He tapped me many times. I could feel the “I suck” tape starting up in my head, and I switched it off. Shawn is really good. He was also using some strength when his technique started to fail him (which it didn’t often…. as I said, he’s good).

Dreels. Armbars from guard. (“Move your heaps!”) Triangles from guard. Omoplatas. Armbar to omoplata to triangle.


Shawn- more getting tooled. It’s a good thing.


Kitsune: “Don’t kill me. I’m old.”
Paul: “Don’t kill *ME*. I’m old.”
Kitsune: “Geez, you look young enough to be my son.”

He played purely defensive, and I spent the entire time trying to get a choke or armbar. Finally- near the end- I managed to isolate an arm and clasp it against my midline. Then we spent a while rolling and thrashing around while I tried to get an elbow lock. When I felt the elbow slipping out, I tried a wrist lock, which failed also. Gotta admire his defense.

Black belt Sean. I was exhausted and I didn’t feel like I mounted a decent fight at all, but he commented “Very technical.”

Somebody bled on my French vanilla gi, gol-dernit.

Professor Herbert is going back to Brazil. I am very bummed.

Georgette is in Edmonds. I am going to try to go over to Edmonds and train with her next Friday.

Thursday X2


Make your attacker advance through a wall of bullets. You may get killed with your own gun, but he’ll have to beat you to death with it, cause it’s going to be empty. -Clint Smith

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Copious drills. Single-legs (Carlos reprimanded me for repeatedly flinging Chrisanne against the wall. I informed him that the wall is a weapon. He was not amused.). Kimuras from closed guard. Cross collar chokes from closed guard.

About a million rounds of closed guard pass vs sweep. Sweeps continue to be the weakest part of my game. Didn’t get a single one. Got some passes.

One roll with Chrisanne.

Evening BJJ in Kirkland. I am trying to make an appearance in Kirkland once in a while, even if I can’t make it on Cindy’s days. On Thurs evenings it’s “basics” in there, which is often a little easier for me to deal with that the “advanced” in Bellevue, when you’re talking two classes in one day. It also starts half an hour earlier, which lets me get home a little sooner.

Tonight I definitely coasted a bit. Dave is getting over some respiratory funk, so did not challenge me as he usually does (no coasting when you’re rolling with Dave). I was working with a brand new girl white belt who couldn’t even make it through the entire drill session.

Pummelling. Cross collar choke from closed guard (cranking the person to the side a bit to facilitate the choke… like this detail. Was not able to do it on stupid side, dammit.). Basic guard pull from standing. Guard pull to armbar from guard. Guard pull to failed armbar from guard, to triangle.

One roll with a tall white belt guy. Armbarred him and RNC’ed him.

No flowers. Really.


Cutting off blood to the brain, whether you call it a “vascular neck restraint”, or a “sleeper hold” or “jime waza” is reliable despite size, strength, psychosis or drugs. It is also the safest way to shut down a human. –Rory Miller

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup drills- double-leg setups.

Next: Same thing we’ve been doing lately, with the sprawl-twirl to the side-take the back. I need to pay extra attention to positioning myself so as to shove in that lower hook adequately. Finish with any choke. I always like the RNC. Simple, reliable. I also did a few bow-and-arrows. John was impressed with my bow-and-arrow for some reason… I’m not sure what was particularly impressive about it, but okay, I’ll take a backpat.

Spars with rotating people. I got a kneebar on somebody today.

Straight to Lindsey’s studio. Getting tattooed is surprisingly exhausting, due to the fact that you are tensing every muscle in your body for most of a two or three hour period. I don’t know how some people sit for half a day. We did about 2.5 hours, that’s the longest I’ve done (I usually draw the line at 2). It was all linework, and on the back- which is not known as one of the more painful spots, although some areas were definitely more painful than others: along the spine, the outer sides (which is technically “ribs”, which I already knew was terrible), and along the very bottom edge- like tailbone level. Lindsey had suggested putting a line of flowers down there, which I vetoed, and when he was down there doing Ox Head’s boots, I was really glad that we weren’t putting a whole freakin’ line of goddam flowers down there. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if Ox Head would look okay with just one foot.

It looks incredible so far…. you can really see my Spyderco on his belt, which tickles me no end.

I was going to try to do one 2-hour session per month or so, but several people called in cancellations while I was there and Lindsey was (rightfully) grumbling about them- so I went ahead and took a spot for tomorrow.

The tat doesn’t hurt much right now- if it feels and looks all right in the morning, I might go to class before I go back to the studio. I know I’m not really supposed to, but it’s just linework! 😉

Broken arm < strangulation.



Friday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle. Nice to see Bryan, Z, Lindsey, Pat and others that I don’t get to see very often because I don’t go to the Seattle pod very often. Unfortunately Chrisanne was ill and had to bail. But Christy was there, so I got to drill with her, Z, *and* Prof. Herbert. That is an excellent roster, but damn am I tired now.

Three different drills, over and over with rotating partners.

Single- or double-leg takedowns. Even at not-100%, this is exhausting (especially doing it with the Professor!!!). I could not take Z down for love or money, which is frustrating since I’m pretty sure I outweigh him… but I got Christy down a few times and the Prof let me have one (which means I must have done it well enough that he decided to reward me by electing to take a dive). I don’t know what his judo background is, but I can tell from watching the way he does certain takedowns that he has one.

You are front mounted. Opponent turns to the side. You move to S mount, shoving hir NEAR lapel down with the hand nearest hir feet. Feed lapel to the other hand, which you have wrapped under hir head. Keep the elbow in tight and the lapel grip deep. Grab the pants. Turn the shin out on your rear leg, sit, Place your rear leg to trap hir arm if you can. I was not really happy to see bow and arrow again today- it’s my LEAST favorite sub to be on the receiving end of, but at least it was Christy this time. When I did this with Chrisanne last Sat, she was doing them so tight and fine that the skin is *STILL* peeling off my chin.

Same, only now your opponent pushes your arm over hir head, so you go for the armbar. Christy noted that this was not very helpful (on the receiving end). I informed her that 1)it’s always better to be armbarred (or even have your arm broken) than to be strangled unconscious, and 2)you have a slight chance of trying to escape the armbar during the transition- although with this particular one, there was precious little room to try to escape.

Some positional sparring from these same 2 positions.

Bryan called me out, although I was way too tired to spar, and he ragged me until I agreed. But I couldn’t bear to put my jacket back on, so I made him go no-gi. Pat called me out next, but by then I was so tired that just turning my head to see who was throwing things at me was too much work, so I had to beg off.

I chugged two full pints of water on my way out.

Dead elephants


Look at the…. victim’s body language (There’s something wrong here,” she thinks, “but if I just don’t make eye contact or antagonize him, it will be all right.”) which was exactly what the threat was looking for. –Rory Miller

Weds/Thurs: Slept very, very badly. Woke up at least half a dozen times, and started a new nightmare every time. Most of which featured Autumn ’11. I was looking forward to Autumn ’14 as a reasonable benchmark for being fucking OVER Autumn ’11. I guess not. I’d like to strangle the idiot who said, “Time heals all wounds”. Fuck you, you saccharine patronizing simplistic optimist.

Almost as bad as the nightmares themselves is the pervading feeling- over the following several days after having just one- that I am wearing an overcoat sewn out of dead elephants. Exhausted, depressed, aching. I just want this shit gone. It makes alcoholism look like an attractive solution.

I also had another nightmare about someone breaking into the house, me shooting them, and the gun failing to fire. The peculiar part of this is that I feel really comfortable with the gun and my handling of same. Even in the dream, I was calm and collected and did everything right. My brain is taking my insecurities over my UNARMED defense techniques and transmogrifying them onto the only part of my skill set that I do feel okay about. It’s a fascinating example of self-sabotage.

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. Considering how poorly I had slept, I decided to skip evening class. I might have been able to handle the class, but I was worried about being fully conscious behind the wheel for the drive home afterward. Also- it quickly became plain that the traffic and parties for the Seahawks home opener were getting well underway by 2pm, so anyone with a shred of sense would be advised to flee as far from Seattle as possible.

Drill day. Start with partner in turtle while you press your chest to the patch on hir back and scoot from one side of hir to the other. Just to make it more challenging, put your hands behind your back. No knees on the floor. Looks simple enough, but two minutes of this feels like twenty.

Add a block of the arm to the beginning of this, and a gable-grip hug (sash style, over the shoulder closest to you) at the end.

Now add switching the leg and taking the back.

After this, we had several short rounds of drilling whatever we wanted. I tried to pick mostly things I suck at: sweeps, armbars from guard. Partner did the following:

From closed guard, cross grab opponent’s wrist. Put your free hand under hir elbow (same side) and grab your own wrist in a kimura grip. Hip out. Now there is a plethora of subs you can do from here.

I found this very interesting, so I used it for the rest of my drill sessions, substituting an array of subs (including a few partner had not thought of). Of course the arm spaghetti- getting the correct grips on the correct arms with the correct hands- was my challenge here. Also, partner notes that the hip out is the key.

One spar with Justin. Fun and competitive. We each won a good tap.