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.

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