He’s asking for a roll in the hay.

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Violence works. It is something that bad guys use to get what they want. When people look for the sources of violence or seek peace, this is the elephant in the room that everyone ignores. As long as violence works, some people will use it. -Rory Miller

Evening BJJ in Bellevue. Almost everybody was watching Amy win her MMA fight, so it was a very small class. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked with anyone other than Chrisanne. I was hoping Peter would be there, but he was not.

One of the warmups that Doug had us do tonight was a logroll all the way down the mat with hands and feet both up off the mat. I looked at that and thought, “What’s hard about that?” I did it really fast, twice (one direction and then the other). All was well until almost to the end of the 2nd run, and then quite abruptly I stared to feel nauseous. It was very odd. I have always done a ton of MA and dance and acrobatics and all sorts of stuff, and I have never had that issue. I guess I will limit the logrolls to once across the floor (half one way, half the other). Nausea persisted through class- mild but distracting. I had to skip the sparring, which sucked because I love to get a chance to spar with Doug.

From bottom half guard: Get the underhook, then go deep (get your face waaaaaaaaay down there to avoid being crossfaced out). Grab opponent’s far foot and pass it to your other hand, behind hir butt. Underhook hir other knee. Rearrange your feet- CAREFULLY- you have to make sure you keep that foot trapped- so that you can roll onto your stomach and scissor your legs for the sweep. Go to side control around either side, you can keep the foot if you are able.

From bottom half guard: go for the kimura. (If opponent is sitting up, yank hir forward with your legs so that s/he has to post.) When s/he sticks hir hand in hir groin to defend the kimura, keep ahold of the wrist but use that over-the-shoulder hand to grab the back of hir belt or pants instead. Now loosen your legs just enough to make the opponent think s/he can pass. As s/he does, hoist hir overhead and to the side (like an upa). S/he ends on hir back, you can keep the arm and finish the kimura from the top. Or take top control, or armbar, or whatever (I was ending up in N/S, which was fine with me). Note that this takes about as much effort as wafting a feather. The opponent’s own effort to pass lofts hir over. You are not using arm strength to heave hir, and you are also not dragging hir over your face. Doug does this to me ALL THE TIME, so it was nice to learn it. I will have to ask him for a defense. I hate finding myself being swept when I know exacly what’s coming and can’t stop it, but the alternative seems to be park there and allow yourself to be kimura’ed. There must be another option.

Doug likes to end his classes with a choke. This one was from closed guard. Pull opponent forward with your legs and do a double circular parry in front of your face so that as s/he posts, you whizzer one bicep. Clamp it nice and tight and grab hir opposite gi lapel with the same hand. Stick the thumb of your OTHER hand into the lapel just above your first grip. Slide it up to the back of hir collar, then whip the forearm over hir head and choke. This is a sublime choke. The guy was tapping almost immediately, and there was still miles of room left to add more pressure. When he did it to me, I noticed that because both hands are on the same side, I didn’t immediately register it as an imminent threat. Also, once he started applying it, I held out for a bit thinking “It’s fine… it’s fine…” and then ALLOFASUDDEN there were the black roses blooming in front of my eyes. Once it was truly in position, it was damn quick.

All three of tonight’s techniques begin with positions that I find myself in frequently but then get stalled in because I can’t quite remember what to do. If at least one of them sticks and I can remember to try it live, I’ll be very happy. In particular, my brain seems to have an extraodinarily difficult time retaining the mechanics of gi chokes- an area in which I would really like to expand my practical toolbox. I can’t wait to try this one on Chrisanne.

Doug (as Hozier comes on the sound system): “This music has got to go.”
Kitsune: “You don’t like this one?”
Doug: “No… it sounds depressing. And I’m not sure what it’s about.”
Kitsune: “It’s about sex. He’s asking for a roll in the hay.”
Doug: “Really?!?”

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Change direction. And again.

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Unless it’s a sport fight that has a certain number of rounds to determine the winner, a real fight usually lasts only seconds. Campfire Tales From Hell

No-gi at Bellevue.

Single-leg takedowns. Put head on the inside (ie, against opponent’s flank).

Same, but now you clamp opponent’s ankle between your legs and shove hir backward for 2 hops before changing direction and dragging the leg to the side so that s/he falls on hir ass. Note that when you grab the leg and put your head on the inside, you should deliberately press that shoulder to hir thigh. When you do the final drag, you should switch your head to the outside and press the OTHER shoulder to hir thigh.

Same, only now you assume s/he is fighting that final drag, so you abruptly switch direction AGAIN and shove hir straight backward, snatching at the free leg so that it’s now actually a double-leg. It doesn’t take much, though- you’re just sort of pawing quickly at it, not grabbing it. Make sure that you get to the side as s/he falls so that you don’t end up in guard.

Sprawl N/S on opponent’s turtle, then spin around, get both hooks in and turn yourself into a backpack. Note that you should not sit upright as if you are riding a pony to stick your hooks in. Your chest should remain plastered to opponent’s back at all times. Also- remember to not leave your head far enough forward to get grabbed and yanked over hir shoulder by your head. That sucks. And finally- the near side hook should go in first. Do not spin to the opponent’s back and throw your far leg over and try to stick that one in first.

A little positional sparring from closed guard and half guard.

One spar with Chrisanne.

I had to stop and take my contacts out halfway through the class because they were giving me problems. It was unpleasant to revisit the whole vulnerability-of-being-half-blind while sparring thing. I thought that once we started grappling, it would be fine, but I still had an uneasy feeling in my gut even though I wasn’t really using my eyes at that point. It makes me worry a lot about what would happen in a real violent encounter once my glasses got knocked off. I wish contacts were not so uncomfortable for me and did not mess so badly with my near/far vision. The glasses are a very serious tactical handicap- even moreso psychologically than physically.

Farewell to Georgette. :(

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Examine your agenda occasionally. What you want to believe will always get in the way of what you know. _Rory Miller

I drove to Edmonds today to get one last roll with Georgette before she leaves town. Always a joy to roll with her, Griff, Dandelion and Craig- and the former two always have helpful advice for me.

After class, I walked/sprinted two miles to an appointment in downtown Bellevue (I was a little late, hence the sprinting) and walked the two miles back. I was already feeling slight shin splints from the sprints (there’s a tongue twister for ya).

Diet has been appalling lately. I have purposefully stayed out of the stores and away from the post V-Day candy sales, but the holiday aftermath at work has not been pretty: cookies, chocolate, some evil thing called “brownie bark” that I had never heard of and now wish it had remained so. I don’t know how much damage has been done because I am afraid to weigh myself, but I do seem to observe some extra tiredness with may be at least partially attributable to sugar OD. I need to get back on track. Also: rain for the last several days, which has meant no yard work. The yard work, disappointingly, does not seem to be a good weight loss tool… yet it is still satisfying on several levels to put in several hours of hard labor and be able to look at (at least a piece of) a job well done.

“Just let it happen” Uh, no.

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(Being in a) Hard Zone demands a cooperative world for you to function. – Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

Thurs lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. We were professorless today, so Nelson was kind enough to work with us on a couple of judo throws, and then we sparred.

I continue to have great difficulty getting out from under side control (I continue to request that people put me there and just sit on me). Chrisanne likes to trap my near arm so that I can’t get my elbow down, which makes it even harder.

Also, I need more options for attacking Chrisanne’s Teflon Turtle. She doesn’t let me get any hands or feet in anywhere. Next time I get some private moments with an upper belt, I will ask for suggestions for that.

Currently arguing with some asshat on Georgette’s wall who feels that women should not carry guns and should simply submit to rapes in the hope of keeping their lives (because if you “escalate” , that’ll just make things worse for you). I don’t know why I argue with these people. It just gives me indigestion and makes me hate humanity even more. I should just find a forum to publish my eloquent wisdom as articles instead.

Wash

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There are some possibilities for non-concussive unconsciousness without significant brain trauma- strangles (sleeper holds, vascular restraints… there are a lot of euphemisms)- the person goes out for twenty seconds plus, and unless there is a pre-existing condition (heart problem, arterial plaque or blood vessels weakened by excessive drug use) there are no ill effects. –Rory Miller

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. All spars.

Sat: I had lofty plans of BJJ followed by more yardwork, but my car died on the way to class. So I ended up spening the afternoon hiking across Bellevue to the Rent-A-Wreck instead. Missed class, and when I finally got home, it was raining. The day was a wash.

Drillin’

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The first and main tenent is the so-called “Vorschlag” (first strike). It means that you hit the opponent first- you draw first blood. It also means initiative. You want to be and remain in the active, attacking an initiating role. That also means that your opponent is in the defensive role. As long as you have the initiative, you are in the so-called “Vor” (before); your opponent is in the “Nach”- this means he reacts, he is pressed into a defensive role. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Thursday BJJ in Bellevue. Drill day. I know they are good for me, but man, drill days kinda suck. 😛

1)The same drill we did last week, where you stand beside a lying opponent’s feet and place near hand on the floor between hir legs, far hand on far knee, and hop to the opposite side. Remember BUTT DOWN and keep the hop as low as possible. Partner commented that this makes it much faster and smoother. I commented that this makes it much more painful and exhausting. Note that you want to wach for the triangle here; although I imagine that that’s what the hand on the knee is for.

2) You in partner’s open guard, s/he has right knee shield across your chest. You wrap your right arm over hir lef thigh and grab the foot underneath. Place your other hand on hir knee and head on hir ribs. Press the knee down and hop into side control. Partner must shrimp out and replace the knee shield.

3) Kneel beside lying opponent’s hip and place forehead on the floor, hugging over both hir thighs with opposite arm, Cartwheel feet to the other side. Move head to other side and repeat. Note that you want to keep your feet far enough apart that s/he cannot catch both of them in hir closed guard.

4) You in partner’s butterfly guard, hug overtop of both thighs and grab the ankles. Place your head on one of hir hips and hurl yourself in a summersault so that your feet hit the mat beside hir head on the opposite side. Your belly is to the ceiling. Now run your feet back around to butterfly guard, twisting belly down as you do it. When I saw the demo, I thought this was going to pull the hell out of the torso muscles on the sides, but it didn’t hurt- it just got hella exhausting after a handful of reps.

A friend of mine (not around here anywhere) got groped on the mat and her instructor handled it poorly. It is a very upsetting thing to hear about, and I don’t know whether to feel depressed or homicidal. I have always felt like I could trust any of my teachers to instantly toss a groper out on his ass upon my say-so, but I’m sure she felt the same about her teacher. Makes you wonder. I wish I could ask each of them and just verify that no, they would not betray me in that way. There’s been quite a bit of publicity in the last few years about molesters in the BJJ community, and it’s so frustrating that this sort of shit is still going on and still getting swept under the rug.

Oh, it’s Telephone-Pole-Legs again.

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Most blunt weapons can also be used to thrust. This is the one really dangerous application of most staff work. Except for brainstem/neck/head hits- which are relatively tough to get- most of the swing targets don’t do lethal damage. The thrust can, and it tends to be slow and sneaky damage. –Rory Miller

Proving Grounds- no surprises here. I fought Chelsea “Set Em Up and Knock Em Down” Kyger twice in gi and she did exactly what I expected her to do- got me under side control, zipped me up real tight, and then muscled me into a sub. Lord, she is strong. She tapped me with a cross collar choke… usually if I have one hand controlling the elbow, I can scuttle those- but she just forced it on through. I almost went out. I’ve never gone out on the mat, but that’s the closest I’ve come. The black roses didn’t bloom in front of my eyes, and I thought I was fine. But AFTER I tapped and she got off me and I sat upright on my knees, all the sound went away and I had a split second that felt like a skip on a DVD. It was so weird. I’ve never had it manifest that way. Chelsea also pulled off an absolutely lovely fireman’s carry takedown on me. Our second match, I managed to not get subbed (I’m happy about that) but she was still on top most of the time.

She plowed me again in no-gi. Then I had the 124lb girl…. I felt bad for her, she was a scrapper, but Chelsea ate her alive. Susan and I both beat her too (rear naked, in my case), but she made us work for it.

I didn’t recognize Susan, although she said that we had fought that the last PG. Then while I was watching her fight Chelsea, I saw one of her legs swing over Chelsea’s head, and I had a little traumatic flashback: “OHHHHHH, it’s the Telephone-Pole-Legs Girl!!!!!!!!” Last time, I had spent our match trapped in her closed guard, so I did not want to go there again. She seeems to have no takedowns…. she just circles endlessly to her left and grip fights…. but I was intimidated to try to get in because her limbs are so long. Finally she pulled guard, and I had one knee in, but I was so TIRED that I couldn’t prevent her from shoving it out and putting me in closed guard. This time, she did open her guard and try several times to sweep me. I defended her sweeps and subs but couldn’t seem to find the energy to pass. It ended in a tie, but she got a tie with Chelsea, which put her in front of me.

Griff reffed all of my fights, so he will hopefully have help for me. I think the only fight Cindy saw was my winning one (that would be nice). I couldn’t see either her or Carlos, but I could hear them both trying to corner me from opposite ends of the ring. I could also hear Carlos hollering at me during my Susan match, but I could not bring action to his orders.

Man, I hate competing. But Lamont is a friend and I want to support his event. It seems to be really meaningful to him for some reason that I show up.

It’s fun watching Craig in the comp ring. He is so relaxed, and smiles often.

Your most important part

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At an advanced level, a mature practitioner should begin to “look outside of the box” of his or her base style. At an advanced level, studying outside your base allows one to better perceive recurring patterns in human attack; that there are only certain ways that a particular joint or limb can move without injury; or that certain techniques are designed to produce or capitalize on a particular physiological reaction common to the species. It is therefore understood that ultimately, there may be a “correct” method to execute technique X within system Y, but ultimately, another system utilizes a nearly identical body mechanic in a related and equally effective manner to counter the same recurring human self-protection problem. The only “correct” method, therefore, becomes the effective application of that body mechanic in neutralizing or escaping a threat, and the study of individual style (judo, jujitsu, karate, aikido, and so on) comes to be seen as simply an individual on-ramp to what amounts in the end to a much larger road. –Michael Thue

Attempting to channel anger into one’s MA is inefficient, dangerous (to both parties) and potentially ego-wrecking (in a negative way; positive ego-wrecking being an actual valid thing in MA). Good to remember when a buddy impales me in the self esteem the day before a comp. Guy is a decent person and good friend, but possibly the most insecure person I have ever met in my life (worse than me, ha ha!). It is incredibly threatening to his masculinity to think that I might be able to beat him up if it came down to it. The fact that I have trained multiple MA’s for twenty years while his ass has been parked on the couch is irrelevant. I am not invested in needing HIM to know I could beat him up- it costs me little to throw him that bone, and I have (although, it must be admitted, with increasing levels of sarcasm as the years go by). Yet I have tried many times to explain to this friend that I don’t want to hear about it repeatedly. Regardless of the truth or untruth of the statement, it is disrespectful and just plain shitty of him to keep saying this to me when he knows what a big part of me is invested in MA. It is invalidating. And yes, I freely admit that my own self-esteem is crappy, and I am not in a position to shrug off his statements without being hurt, pissed, and unbelieveably frustrated. And thinking it may be true.

Anyway, he hit me with this again today, and it has raised angsty feels that I did not need the day before a tournament. I informed him that he has reached the bitter end of my tolerance tether on that score, and if he ever says that to me again, we are through. Needed to be done. But I am left feeling even more disheartened and conflicted than usual on tournament eve.

Was reflecting that defeatism/confidence/self esteem are by far the hairiest challenge for me in my MA journey. Making one wonder- if you’re into all that esoteric crap- if that’s what it all about, if that’s what it’s all FOR, for me. A higher power or my subconscious or whatever trying to use MA to heal my esteem. It occurrs to me that it may be necessary to actually try my hardest and fail, and cope with that. Actually trying my hardest and failing anyway is such a terrifying prospect that I can’t even wrap my brain around it. But I’m not sure where else to go from here, as I am making little if any progress on my defeatism. It may be that the only way through it is- THROUGH it. Straight through.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Drill- pushups and sprawl to backtake. After we did all the reps, Chrisanne collapsed on the mat to wait for the rest oft he pairs to finish. I said, “Oh no. Get up. We’re starting over.”

Sparring. I tooled a white belt, got tooled by a blue belt, played defense with another white belt who had already been too rough with Chrisanne, so I knew I had to wach it with him. Had Chrisanne (at my request) get me in bottom side control and front mount and just hold me down. She did it very well. I couldn’t get out. She also has excellently painful Shoulder Of Justice.

Then….

Carlos, after matching up everyone in the class except me: “Come here Keetsune, we gonna talk about smashing. (wicked grin)”

Kitsune: “Oh boy. Okay, as long as all we’re going to do is TALK.”

Carlos (more wicked grinning)

Chrisanne: “When she asks to be smashed by *ME*, that’s a different thing than getting smashed by *YOU*.”

So he did to me the same thing that Chrisanne did, and if I couldn’t escape *HER*, you can guess how well I did against him. He advises more hipping up, observing that I am underutilizing my “most important part”.

After we did that for a while, he started latching onto subs and then reprimanding me for passing his guard instead of dealing with the sub attempt first. That is another item for the file of “Sloppy shit that works on lower belts but not on purples and up…. so it’s time to stop doing it.” Usually I can pass guard and *then* get out of the sub attempt, which has been weakened by the now-suboptimal positioning. The purple belts and up, though, will often set traps that cause you to sub your own self when you move.

Carlos, re: the comp: “We all gonna be there- me, Professor Hodrigo, Professor Lindsey….”

Kitsune: “Wonderful.” (gahhhhhhhh!!)

Jiu Jitsu On Ice

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The best targets for a swing with a (n impact weapon)- unlike a blade- are bones. You can bruise muscle with a club or staff and even get a “charley horse”, but for the most part an adrenalized threat won’t feel the pain, won’t notice immediately and it won’t swell up until long after the fight is over. Smash his finger bones, however, and he loses the ability to hold his (weapon) immediately. –Rory Miller

Thursday no-gi, Bellevue.

Several drills, most of them new to me. Missing the first part of the week is proving to be problematic lately, as Carlos has been teaching new drills and then building variations off those same drills for the remainder of the week.

Half guard sweep: From standing, one meathook behind neck and one outside bicep grip. Shove the bicep across opponent’s body and drop to your butt, putting hir leg in half guard (on the side OPPOSITE the way you shoved hir arm). Underhook hir remaining leg and scissor your own legs as you roll, sweeping hir forward. My main problem here is that I tended to be in too much of a hurry and didn’t want to take the time and effort to underhook the leg properly. I also didn’t seem to want to let go of that meathook. On Chrisanne, it was possible to retain the meathook all the way through the technique, but I was pulling her down with main strength. On a bigger/stronger opponent who is going to posture up and fight the meathook, I am going to need to be more aggressive about attacking the legs. Note also that you end up in top half guard. Best to anticipate this and make passing a fluid and uninterrupted part of the total package before the opponent can do anything about it.

You standing, opponent on hir back before you with feet on your hips. Shove the legs over hir right shoulder and place your hand on the small of hir back. Stack mercilessly until s/he wants to roll into turtle. Hug hir shoulders from behind (over/under) and place your head on the mat on the opposite side of hirs- ABOVE it a bit. Roll. The head placement is critical because otherwise, you will finish with a backtake (which is fine, but not our objective ATM). Getting a good grip and THEN doing the roll is critical. You need not fret as much as usual about being pasted tight to hir back first. As long as your hug is technically correct, the recieving end of this is painful and chokey enough that you find yourself needing to go along for the ride whether you like it or not. You end in a T formation, and usually the opponent’s far arm is just waiting for you to trap it with your legs. Now you can do a shoulder lock or a choke (or if you are having That Sort Of Day, both!)

Rolls with Chrisanne, JP, and Casey. I asked all of them to get me in side control or/and front mount, and then just be heavy and try to hold me there, because that has been my experience with Chelsea (whom I will be battling tomorrow in both gi and no-gi). Not that Chelsea just holds me there- but she DOES tend to get in one of those positions ASAP, efficiently zip up every molecule of space, and then rest her superior weight, significant musculature and excellent grounding skills on me while she leisurely selects a sub and finishes me off. I need to stay the hell out from under her (which also means I can’t pull guard at the beginning…. fighting for the takedown with her is not going to be any picnic, but I should try), and do my damndest to get out from under before she gets me bagged and tagged, if she does get on top. She’s so heavy and tight that in the past, once she lands there, I have felt an immediate futile leaking away of all strength and energy, and could just lie there gasping helplessly while she finishes. I wish I knew how to counteract the feeling of weakness and exhaustion that grips me in this scenario. It takes all the fight out of me.

Anyway, I was able (with specific focus) to stay mostly out from under Chrisanne, but the boys very efficiently put me in side control and pinned me. I continue to want to put an arm up beside my head. I need to frame and stop giving away my arms. Another thing I did a couple of times with JP was to move both arms to one side of my midline, as Georgette has advised against. Also, as Georgette pointed out and JP pointed out AGAIN last night, I want to try to get my BOTTOM leg in first to try to replace guard. I end to instinctually try to get my top leg in. I feel vulnerable lying on my back, and always feel a driving instinct to get belly-down. This results in backtake, which I am currently making a greater effort to avoid.

I need to keep in mind that tomorrow’s comp is sub only, no time limits, and I don’t need to get my panties in a knot if I have to lie under side control for a while…. as long as the time is not being used by Chelsea to vacuum up all the extra space (in which case I *do* need to light a fire under it, because “it’s not gonna get any better”).

Apparently we may have a few additional opponents in no-gi, but I don’t know who. I don’t think it’s anyone I know. It’s just Chelsea in gi.

Amusingly, JP apologized for sweating on me. I told him that he had BETTER be sorry, because I do not like sweat and I do not want to get all sweaty in here. Casey was wallowing in a lake of sweat and it was like Jiu Jitsu On Ice. Chrisanne also gave me a fat lip- but since that doesn’t affect function, I don’t really give a darn.

It’s been raining for three straight days… and I cannot pull blackberries, nor work on my yard terracing, nor work on my fence, which is driving me crazy. Also, being stuck inside, I am fighting the munchies. I registered at 131- and it’s probably not going to matter (Chelsea’s quite a bit bigger, don’t know about any others), but I did get down to 129 and it’s frustrating to backslide.

Put your jacket on, take your jacket off

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When we have worked hard and succeed at something, we should be allowed to smell the roses.  They key is to recognize that the beauty of those roses lies in their transience. It is drifting away even as we inhale. We enjoy the win fully while taking a deep breath, then we exhale, note the lesson learned, and move onto the next adventure. –Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

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Saturday lunchtime in Seattle. Turns out that lately, Saturday in Seattle involves putting your gi top on and taking it off several times over the course of the class. It also involves using both mats, as there was a HUGE crowd of people there.

I didn’t feel up to doing 2 hours straight today, so I just went for the live training. I sparred Vic in gi and no-gi, and tooled him. Then got tooled in turn by Coach Dynamo. He kept putting me on the bottom and then just perching there, forcing me to get out. After that, I got tooled by (black belt) Lindsey. I continue to fail to get the first cross-collar gi choking hand in quite deep enough while I’m trying to choke him.

Operation KILL ALL THE BLACKBERRIES continues, every day that it’s not raining. Lots of stooping, squatting, carrying, pulling. I am also assembling a selection of small logs for the posts of the new fence- which involves carrying a log per day home from the River (again, when it’s not actively raining).