To be a legitimate threat in the eyes of the law, the other guy must have intent (desire), the means (ability), and the opportunity (access) to hurt you. If you wind up in court, you must be able to show all three to justify using force for self-defense. And you must be able to explain why what you did was appropriate; martial artists tend to be held to a higher level than everyday citizens. Even if intent, means and opportunity are clear, there is one other requirement (for civilians and in most states) to satisfy. You must be able to show that you had no safe alternatives other than physical force before engaging. That’s the real bugger for self defense, preclusion. Campfire Tales From Hell

Stretching, Chi Gung, Tai chi a Artspawn with CK & Lisa. Weird to be back at Artspawn after many years. I haven’t been keeping up on my tai chi, but I was very constantly aware of making an effort at every moment to AVOID two of my most persistant and troublesome tai ch fails: lack of body turning along with arm movement, and letting the knee turn (and cave) in. Some of that chi gung felt so good. It was tickling and stirring the energy.

Front mount to S mount


Fighting is almost always ego driven. –Rory Miller

I’m doing Vic’s 30 day plank challenge. Starting today at Day 2 because I just now found out about it. I flatter myself that I have halfway decent ab muscles, but I do not plank, so it’s entirely possible that I may be in for a rude awakening.

My trick wrist- the one that Carlos wristlocked when he first came here- was troubling me yesterday and today. Mostly during the open guard butt scoot warmups yesterday. I was mostly fine during the sparring. I’m wary, though, as the wrist tends to give me problems for a few weeks at a time once it starts hurting. Hope it won’t affect the plank challenge.

Saturday no-gi at Kirkland.

There were some painful techniques on tap today, and Cindy told me to be grateful that Dave was there to be the demo dummy…. and I truly was, as they are things that Cindy has done to me before and the memory of agony is fresh. I feel terrible as I watch Dave’s face contort. The vein on his temple starts bulging out and turning purple, too.

I was drilling with Andrew, who is fairly large, but he was very nice to me and careful. Dave, though, didn’t hear me say “tap” during the positional sparring, and continued to pull something that torqued the sheet out of my ankle and knee until I yelled “TAP- TAP- TAPTAP!!!!!” I know he would never do that on purpose, but dang, that hurt.

First we did some pummelling, then triangle drills, then armbar from guard drills (lawd I hate those!)

Front mount to S mount with seatbelt grip. Then front mount to S mount to armbar. Then front mount to S mount to torquing opponent’s own arm around hir neck and bellying hir down to the mat.

I struggled with many things today. Several of them were very basic white belt errors that I should not be making. Others of them were failing to correctly follow all the steps even after multiple explanations and demos. Cindy was getting frustrated with me, to my dismay and chagrin.

Positional sparring from front mount. Then a roll with Wayne. I haven’t done no-gi in a long time, and found myself frustrated with the lack of grips.

Speed Friday


Most people are grass-eaters with their heads down on the ground. The jackals and lions know this and think of them as that. Hold your head up and walk like you are the biggest, baddest lion that walks. The jackals and lions will notice and leave you alone because they don’t want to get hurt. Don’t challenge them because they might feel they have to respond to it. All you want is their respect, not their dignity. -Greg Hamilton

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Earlier, I had walked 2 miles (I had a work meeting) and also made a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting visit to the Habitat For Humanity store- which I will elaborate upon later.

As usual, Kevin and I fought over who would defer to the other in line. I informed him that soon he would have another stripe and then he wouldn’t be able to argue about it.

Tonight was a “drill as fast as you can” night. “Speed Friday” Carlos called it.

Ankle pick from standing- drop to right knee between opponent’s knees, grab behind the top of hir calf with your right hand and behind hir ankle with your left. Stand up and pick up the ankle. Opponent’s job: put both palms to mat and attempt to handwalk/scuttle away until footing can be regained.

Same ankle pick, only this time as opponent attempts to scuttle, you clasp that ankle against your body and grab at hir other ankle with your right hand. Carlos had to point out to me that those of us with short arms may need to “turn the corner” around opponent’s body in order to reach that second ankle- don’t just stay where you are and strain after it. Lift the second ankle, opponent will be twisted in the air to be dumped on hir back. Step between hir knees and push hir ankles to the mat (or to hir butt) to defend any DLR or other reguard attempts.

KOB to spinning armbar, armbarred person turns to push on knee and deliberately brings top knee up to bait a pantleg grab. If you fail to bring the knee up, the armbar-er may be moved to apply better technique and underhook your knee instead, which will make it difficult to do the next move- which is to straighten your leg to break the grip. Hitch hiker escape to pop your head up UNDER/BEHIND their butt, get up and move around to KOB. I was happy to practice that hitch hiker escape, as it is a technique that for some reason I always seem to be absent on the day it is taught/practiced, and I haven’t worked it enough for it to be instinctual regarding which way to go. I have always (and still do) regard it as a bit of a hole in my game. I don’t use it much, as I favor a yank of the elbow down to the mat (works great with my short arms)… but it is one of those basic techniques that every jiu jitsu artist should be able to do well.

Carlos kept urging us to go faster and faster, and began to pit couples against each other in speed. Of course Kevin and I, being the ranking belts in the room, could not allow mere white and blue belts to beat us- so we really turned it on. This resulted in some exhaustion-induced clumsiness (esp with the ankle pick) as the night progressed. At one point he went to his knee and then went shooting right on past me while I stood there and watched him slide by.

By the time we were done, I was reeling with exhaustion. I was gratified to see that Kevin (half my age) was tired as well. I would have liked to have a roll with Kev- but it was a challenge to keep my LOC up enough to safely complete the drive home, so I’m glad I didn’t try to push it further.

Knees ache from all the up-down and from dropping onto the right knee a million times.

Focus, mood, and energy level


The laser sight on the Taser (or on some firearms) puts a red (usually) or green dot where the dart or bullet will land. One company that manufactures laser sights refers to this as “Helping criminals make informed decisions”. –Rory Miller

I’m feeling frustrated right now with my lack of self discipline regarding work on my fiction. One of my favorite writers has made some noises about possibly offering some personalized mentoring to people. That perked my ears. I’d love to treat myself to that if it’s in my budget, but that would involve committing to setting ass to chair and fingers to keyboard (and not to fart around on the web, to FOCUS). I’ve been pretty good about keeping up on the training blog, so I decided that I might try posting some more stuff to Facebook (I usually limit my FB postings mostly to the martial arts quotes that I also put on my blog). Today- as a writing challenge- I wrote about changing light bulbs, and tried to make it funny and interesting. I got a good response.

I am quite firmly anti-drug, but today I also did a bit of an experiment. Like any self-respecting psychology enthusiast, I am certain that I have about a dozen assorted undiagnosed mental pathologies. One of which is a moderate helping of ADD.

No one I know would ever give me two tabs of a controlled substance (let’s call it Subtractorall), and if they did, I would never take it. But let’s just say, hypothetically, that I took a Subtractorall today just to see what would happen (specifically, in class).

Well, hypothetically, I feel energized. Normally, the combo of depression, severe allergies, and wonky work hours has me perpetually feeling exhausted, and constantly prioritizing bed over any other activity that I don’t absolutely *have* to do. Right now, I do not feel tired…. and it’s very bizarre because I don’t really know what it feels like to not be tired. I was really excited to go to class, and was bouncing around and singing.

I also feel less depressed than usual…. although I may have stacked the deck in that respect by writing the light bulb treatise this morning. Creative work of any type tends to temporarily unfreeze my emotions, and I get happy or deeply morose (often both in succession… there’s that undiagnosed bipolar disorder at work).

I also have a powerful placebo effect response, so it’s entirely possible that I feel different simply because I was expecting something different to happen.

I will need to hypothetically run this experiment again on a different day and see if similar hypothetical observations occur.

Unfortunately, class today in Bellevue was an all-sparring class, which was a little disappointing because I had wanted to see if I could focus better on drills and learning new technique.

My goal for today was to not give people my back. This resolution resulted in having fewer (percieved) options once trapped under side control. I still did some turtling, but not as much as I usually do- and when I did it, I tried to transition out of it instead of just hunching there and waiting for the other person to take my back so that I could escape. I asked a few people to try to take my back- and if they could get it- to choke me and make it hurt (No one got it today).

I did mostly well at staying on the move.

Suranjen continues to let me have a bunch of KOB’s, a bunch of front mounts, a bunch of taps. I continue to not know how to ask him why he’s doing it, or how to ask him to stop. I am 100% certain he is holding back in a major way. He didn’t used to do it, and I don’t get why he is doing it now.

With John, I decided that I did not want to be in his guard today, so I was pretty assertive about passing, getting and staying on top. Was moving well with him today, mostly.

Did some standup with Nelson, which is always fun. One hilarious moment- I glanced over my shoulder to make sure there was enough clear mat space in that spot to try to throw him over there, and he took that instant to throw me instead. That’s what I get for being considerate!

Another unusual thing- I wasn’t exhausted at the end of class.

Promotion avoidance tactics


This is the universal hand signal for GO AWAY! (Holds handgun in firing position.)

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

I had one goal for today: Try to not die… as this was my first class post-food-poisoning. As I suspected, my cardio was even more pathetic than usual. I was also noticing the weight loss in a negative way (ie, it’s a little harder to hold people down and a little easier to get swept). Weird how such a small difference is so noticable.

I have kept off the weight I lost in what John referred to as “the dysentery diet” and would like to remove another six to get to tournament weight.

All spars today. I was able to keep going and didn’t have to take any breaks, although I did spend quite a bit of time turtling under big guys. When I turtle, they take my back, and as they flip me over, I squirm free. I swear this happened at least twenty times today with five different guys. I asked three of them to clasp me tighter to their chests before they try to flip me- in fact I told Justin the whole story- he then went a little tighter but still not tight enough. The others were still being too nice. I need them to stop giving me so much slack in this area. Maybe if I pressed more subs and put them on the run more instead of being purely defensive, they would give me less slack. Definitely need to take some of my favorite regulars aside and ask them to really ride me on this particular issue.

John is trying to avoid promotion. Unlike me- I just sneak around and use avoidance tactics- he actually made a comment to Carlos today about being “almost a brown belt”. He ***SO*** did that on purpose specifically to try to stall a promotion.

A friend of mine died today, and I am not doing really well with it. She had a very rapid decline after being diagnosed with cancer, and I wasn’t ready for the end this quick.