How are impact weapons used? You smack people with them. You can spend years learning nuances of jo staff or bo fighting or try to recreate quarterstaff technique from old manuals, but the basics aren’t that hard. You hit people. –Rory Miller

This entire week, I have spent 4 hours per morning in my yard, pulling blackberries by hand. On Weds and Thurs, I also spent an additional 4 hours in the afternoons (for a total of 8 hours a day those two days). It has been a lot of exercise, and I am irritated that I haven’t lost any weight. But I have made serious inroads on the blackberry problem. I have a heap of mangled vines the size of a car. I am going to have to slack off at least some next week , though, if I want to have any grips for Proving Grounds. My hands are killing me. Knees are bitchy as well. Otherwise, not feeling a lot of body soreness. It’s nice to be 43 and be able to do eight straight hours of yard work two days in a row and feel fairly okay.

Also- turns out that sticking your hand in the lawn mower to clear the blades is a dumb idea even if it’s a Flintstone (reel) mower instead of a motorized one. Damn thing bit me. I have an enormous protruberant blood blister on my finger. Fortunately it’s on my non-dominant hand. I was growling because the blades are dull, but I’m lucky they were, or I could have chopped off the tip of my finger.

Thursday no-gi in Bellevue. It was a drill-till-you-die night. I began with a spar with Casey. I didn’t feel like I did too well, but he praised me.

Ben and Kevin both have been promoted to brown belt!!

Single leg setups.

Standup, meathook behind head and bicep grip- transitioning to a standing armbar. Yank hir down to break hir posture. If s/he jerks upright, let hir- and do a double-leg.

Flopping from one side of a turtled opponent to the other- knee tucked in on each side.

We learned one new drill that was actually fun- you standing, opponent on hir back with feet on floor and knees up. You place your left hand on the floor just inside hir right foot, and your right hand atop hir left knee. cartwheel to the opposite side. Repeat. This was enough of a dance-ish technique that I was very coordinated at it and found it easy and fun.

These, MUCH LESS FUN: In open guard, press opponent’s left knee to the mat and hike hir right leg onto your left shoulder, hugging the thigh. skip from side to side, pressing each of your knees down on hir thigh in turn. This was not a good time for my achey knees, but I was soldiering along until Carlos came by and informed me that my butt was too high. He pressed my butt down, and after 3 reps, my body failed me. It was not a pain threshold or an exhaustion threshold, it was a case of I told my muscles to do X and absolutely nothing happened. Chrisanne did not do well with these either, but we both felt a little better when we noticed that the mid-twenties muscley boys beside us were moaning louder than we were.

Same setup, only now you press your palm to the small of opponent’s back and try to force hir to roll into turtle. You slide your knee under there, grab the over-one-shoulder-and-under-other-armpit back hug, control that wrist (That was the part I kept forgetting), and choke. Also, if opponent blocks your knee, hop over hir and do it on the other side.

When time was called, I keeled over and lay there in the fetal position for a while, as everyone else started lining up. I had to get up because Luis stared jeering at me.

Friday evening in Bellevue, all spars. Sore from yesterday.

Peter, Chrisanne, Peter again, some blue belt guy, Doug twice, Carlos.

I choked blue belt guy to a tap three or four times. Kept telling him, “Put your chin down, put your chin down,” If you don’t listen to me, buddy, I’m just going to keep right on doing it. He started to go out once. He didn’t go totally out, I don’t think, but he greyed and then had to pause for a moment. He then told Carlos and Doug that I “choked him out”. I have never choked anyone out.

The Doug-Doug-Carlos trifecta at the end nearly killed me. I was trying really hard to stay mobile and attacking, especially since Carlos informed me before we began that he was going to hold me down in various positions and he expected me to get out. For many of these positions, I had to try and fail at several options before he let me escape.

Note- with Casey, Doug and Carlos, I was noticing that when they are standing and I am sitting open guard, I sometimes fail to contact three points- which I need to be doing. Worse, sometimes when I *had* three points, I voluntarily let one go.

Nonetheless, I felt competent today.

I should mention that my 30-Day Plank Challenge failed at four minutes. I got through Day 26. I cannot do a four minute plank. Three and a half minutes is my limit. If I wanted to do more than that, I would need to plank regularly for a few weeks at least and build up to it.

That is terribly distracting.


An attorney who in specializes in self-defense told me that of the 300 clients who said something to the police before talking to him, only two managed to NOT hurt their case. Those two didn’t help their case, they just didn’t hurt it any. If you are involved in a shooting, call the police, physically cooperate with them, but don’t say anything except you want to call your attorney. –Greg Hamilton

I didn’t write up the last two classes, because I was feeling frustrated and unable to focus on the constructive bits.

Today, all spars in Bellevue.

I keep wanting to call Justin “Jason” for some reason. So he started calling me “Tiffany” and it went rapidly downhill from there. Now I’m calling him anything with a J (Jerome, Jaylen, Jessie, Jordan) and he’s calling me prissy girly names (Brittany, Charity).


Standing guard pass, #1: You standing, holding opponent’s pants at the insides of the knees as s/he has one foot on your bicep and the other foot on your hip. Step to the “hip” side and thrust opponent’s knee to the floor. Scoot quickly back to the opposite side, while pressing the second leg down on top of the first. Drop to your knees behind hir butt (NOT further up, behind hir back) while blocking behind hir knees with your arm.

#2: Opponent has spider guard, you have the same grips as above. Press the knee to the mat on the side that they have the bent leg. Use your OPPOSITE foot (not the one on the same side, as I tried to do first and quickly found that that is completely unbalanced) to push that leg down. Do a lawnmower-starting motion with your arm on that side to shuck the sleeve grip. Now continue the pass as before. (I was a bit bummed that Christy was in class tonight- she does this pass to me all the time, and she makes it hurt…. she really does not need more practice on this rather painful technique!)

As the prof was explaining the technique, we were all suddenly very distracted by the sounds of a woman orgasming loudly from the next mat.

This was disquieting, as there was a Monkey Bar Gym class going on in there, and as far as I know they did not have an orgy planned for tonight’s class (altough perhaps they would get more membership signups if they did).

When I was going to the Gold Creek gym, there were occasionally men in the weight room who grunted like rutting water buffaloes while they lifted weights. I hate that. It is a sad attention-seeking tactic.

This was the first time I had heard a woman doing it, and it made me embarrassed to be female. She wasn’t even grunting- she was moaning and gasping. It truly sounded like nothing other than noisy intercourse, and it was embarrassing to be listening to while surrounded by a class full of men.

I told Carlos that I was unhappy… that that was distracting and inappropriate… hopefully he will talk to Greg, who will talk to the culprit- if it continues to happen, I will talk to Greg myself. I do not want to hear someone orgasming loudly in the background while I’m trying to focus on guard pass details.

One spar with Chrisanne and one with Christy.

Six Thousand Details


There are thousands of things that can be used as weapons, and there are lots of ways to use them. –Rory Miller

3.5 Minute Plank. OMG. That hurts so bad. But thrilled that I can do it.

Fri evening BJJ in Bellevue.

The longer I do BJJ, the more complicated it gets. What used to look like a very simple basic guard pass now has about six thousand little details that you have to remember all at once.

Pulling guard, then basic (ha!) pass from 1)knees or 2)standing. Most persistantly troublesome details for me tonight:

1)Don’t try to use brute strength to haul opponent’s sleeve cuff up while you’re trying to posture standing in hir guard, brace your elbow against your body and straighten your back.

2)Then move your knees closer together.

3)Don’t grab the pants at the knee to push it down, grab the knee itself. Christy was having the same problem, so eventually we both started whispering “No pants! No pants!” to one another every time we began the pass.

4)Control the near arm using the sleeve as you take side control. I already have a good instinct to get that shoulder off he ground and keep it all nice and tight, but the process sure is a lot easier and works better if I remember to deliberately address that arm first and do the right things with it.

I was infuriated, frustrated, mindboggled and despairing to find that I was a pound up this morning despite having eaten tragically little *and* done BJJ **AND** went for a walk. I honestly do not understand how this is possible. I ate even less today. Spent much of both days feeling hungry, distracted and resentful.

I can do a 3 minute plank. Booyah!


You don’t stop fighting until the fight is over. You don’t need to go down just because you have taken a few hits. As long as you believe you can keep going you will. If you do go down, you are still going to win because you are going to gnaw through his Achilles’ tendon and bring him down to where you can rip his head off. -Greg Hamilton

I had to take a little break from the 30 Day Plank Challenge because I caught a cold. It was too painful to tip my head forward because it made all sorts of bad things happen in my sinuses. I got back to the planks yesterday. The goal for that day was a 3 min plank; I would have been happy matching my previous 2.5 min. To my surprise, I was able to do the entire 3 min!

Between the 4lb I dropped when I had food poisoning, and the 4lb I dropped on CK’s Cauldron-O-Vegetables Diet, I am down to 128. (I weigh the same as Chrisanne- hee hee). 4 more to 124, which is my ideal tournament weight. Probably won’t get there before Proving Grounds, but that’s okay- it probably won’t matter for Proving Grounds.

I will almost certainly have to resort to Slim Fasts to get/stay at 124… As in, probably a tiny breakfast, a Slim Fast for lunch, and a miniscule dinner- permanently. I am still resentful that I have to stay below 1000 cal per day, but I think I am moving to a place of accepting that this is my reality. There are plenty of things about my reality that are not fair. This one- I can either keep denying it and be chunky, or I can just buckle down and deal with it. It’s largely mental, anyway. It’s difficult to resist snacking at work. If I am really good at work, then I feel all hungry and deprived when I get home in the morning, and I eat bad things before bed. So the trick is going to be eating enough at work that I don’t want to binge in the morning, but not so much that it goes way over my calorie load.

I controlled myself in the grocery store the other day. That’s another key. I’m usually pretty good about not buying crap on impulse, and I usually keep the fast food under control, so if I just don’t have junk food in the house then there is less temptation. I have been buying one small treat when I get groceries…. this week it was a chocolate covered cinnamon roll- instead of buying a box of cookies or bag of candy or something evil from the bakery.

I’ve also managed to trim a couple of sodas from my daily routine- not enough to win me any trophies, but one or two… which is more progress than nothing. This part is more about my sleep than about my weight.

One more factor- I’ve been going down to the River almost every morning, which has the double bonus of getting me away from the refrigerator, and killing a few more calories scrambling over rocks and dragging driftwood home.

Thursday BJJ at Bellevue. All spars again. Griff was there, but I didn’t get to roll with him today. I asked everybody to take my back, stay really tight on there, and sub me. That they could choose to let me go if I did an actual technique to escape, but to not let me just twist and squirm out of there. Again, a few of them tried to be a LITTLE tighter, but they are still going too easy. It is possible that the only thing that is going to make them ratchet it up is if I start going harder, being more aggressive and actually trying to sub them.

For the final spar, I tried to get Luiz, but someone else snatched him from under my nose. By that time, the only guy left was a very big, muscular white belt. I stalled at the water cooler briefly, glancing at Carlos… he will often switch people around when he sees that it’s just me and a humongo white belt…. but Carlos was not in a mind to bail me out today, he just stood there with his stopwatch in his hand, looking at me with his eyebrows up, like “What are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?” (Only he would have said “eengraved eenvitation”). So into the breach I marched, resolutely.

I guillotined the big guy and tapped him right away, then he got serious. I kept him off me with spider guard most of the rest of the time. He got into top side control once, and then just backed off and wanted to restart, because he doesn’t know any subs from there yet. I told him to just try to flatten me out on my back (I was on my hip with my knees curled under), and that kept him busy for the rest of the match.

Basset hound

There is almost no place you can hit a human that physiologically stops them from shooting back. Shot to the heart? You’ve got roughly ten seconds to shoot back. Nothing below the first or second vertebrae prevents you from pulling a trigger. Headshots are not even reliable. A local man when I was a rookie took a .45 caliber slug between the eyes from three feet away and it bounced off his skull. In the 1977 murder of Baton Rouge officer Linda Lawrence, the threat took ten shots from a large caliber revolver including a contact shot to the solar plex area, a contact shot through the rib cage from side to side (The threat grunted and said, “You got me a good one that time,”  and threw Officer Lawrence’s partner across the room) and a contact shot through the top of the head. Even after the headshot, the threat got up one more time to fight. –Rory Miller

Monday: spent a couple of hours climbing rocks by the River with my new camera. Although jumping, sliding, and even STEPPING down is slow and careful these days due to the chronic pain in my knees, I was happy to find that I can still get anywhere that I want to get… anywhere that I would have expected to be able to get at 12 (which was ANYWHERE). No slips, no falls, even in marginal footwear and with the rocks and logs wet and frosty. I have the agility of a jungle cat.

Wednesday: Day 12 of the 30–Day Plank challenge. Up to 1.5 min.  The increments go up by 30 seconds from here, every couple of days. This is obviously not gradual enough to sanely get to 5 min for someone who has never planked.  But I will be interested to see how far I get.

Anica has thown out a 30-day “no junk food” challenge. This one is a gauntlet I will not be picking up! My response: “I would die.” It has occurred to me, though, that it might be feasable to introduce a “no junk food” weekday (probably Wednesdays, since that’s the final day of my rotation, and I usually have a sleep binge so there would be fewer conscious hours in which to exercise willpower). The “no soda” thing would be the real killer. Another idea: a “no junk food” hour. Hours to be added gradually. VERY gradually. Ha ha. I’d start with the middle of the day, because- again- I’d only be conscious for half of them. I really would like to do something about my terrible diet.

Thursday: More rock scrambling, not as much as on Monday, but enough to call exercise. I am trying to put  together a posse to pick up trash at Eagle Falls, which would also count as exercise.

The more I think about the junk food blackout hours, the better I like the idea. First blackout hour: 22:00 to 23:00. No Dr Pepper allowed during blackout hours, either.

I wanted to do some BJJ so bad today, but everything is closed. So I climbed the Index Wall with Cindy and Maddie. Cindy is not interested in pausing to admire plants, rocks, and views. It’s all SPRINT up the mountain and then SPRINT back down… while I scurried in her wake, huffing like a basset hound and trying to not fall too far behind. Embarrassingly, I had to ask for a few short breaks. I didn’t remember until we were halfway up the Wall that I have CK coming over for the next 2 days, and tai chi (along with anything else we might do) is going to be even more painful than usual on post-mountain-climbing swollen knees. Oh well. Suck it up, Buttercup!  Climbing the Index Wall is such great exercise.

Fri: CK told me an interesting story equating spoons to physical and mental resources, and told me that I seem to have too few spoons. She also likened my grim effort to do what I need to do each day with the resources I have on hand to a “death march”.  Although a rich combo of facts is surely at work, these MOTHERFUCKING ALLERGIES are a the top of the list. Followed up by sleep issues. She wants me to try acupuncture. She also gave me a new supplement idea to try. I wish I could shake (or at least cut down) my caffeine addiction. I know it is not helping my sleep issues.

Sun: 30 Day Plank Challenge, day sixeen. Okay, the two minute plank SUCKS. 2.5 might be my breaking point. We’ll see.

Blackout hour added: 10am to 11am. It is 10:04 right now, and I can’t have a Dr Pepper.

CK made vegetables. A LOT of vegetables. My freezer is now holding more vegetables than I have eaten in the last eight years combined. I am going to eat them all.

I wonder if I am ever going to get back to BJJ class.  😦   😦   😦  Heavy withdrawl.

Thurs lunchtime: I made it back to BJJ class!!!!    All spars.  Came back home and was so exhausted that I went right to bed.

Fri evening: Annnnnnnnnnd all spars again.

Tomorrow I am supposed to do a 3 min plank. The 2.5 did not succeed in breaking me, but this one might.