Sweaty jiu jitsu and yardwork.

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The 70-80% level of technical excellence can be achieved relatively quickly; however, to attain the remaining 30% or 20% requires a disproportionate amount of time and effort. Tony Gummerson, “Teaching Martial Arts”

Thursday gi in Bellevue.

Very hot in the gym this morning. Pummelling, armbar-from-mount drills, double-leg setups, then an hour of king of the hill, then a few spars. I did very poorly today in all aspects of KOTH. Got schooled by a tiny little white belt girl- but I felt a bit less bad after hearing that she was an MMA fighter with 5+ years of no-gi and wrestling. She got a lovely takedown on me, and she had some masterful sweeps. A big white belt guy did a rough takedown on me. He was quite muscley throughout; he may be one for the blacklist. It was good to work with Amy, as I don’t get the chance often.

Several hours of yardwork in considerable heat, both before class and after. Pulling blackberry brambles, burning blackberry brambles, mowing. Using a manual mower against thigh-high grass is very hard exercise. You have to use short, hard chest thrusts to move it along, and go over every spot at least 2 or 3 times. God, the yard looks great, though. It’s so nice to have those mountains of blackberry brambles out of my driveway, where they have been sitting since January. The foxgloves are up everywhere, and I am innundated with hummingbirds.

Friday evening gi. Even hotter in the gym tonight. An hour or two of yardwork beforehand. It was too hot to do any more than that. Aching like hell. I had to take 2 Ibuprophen, which I hardly ever partake of. It wasn’t even (mostly) the BJJ, it was the yardwork. I’m never going to let the grass or the blackberries get that out of control again.

Pummelling, double-leg setups.

Standing guard pass: the hand positions on this were odd. Move slightly to opponent’s right. Grab opponent’s right ankle with your right hand, fingers toward hir foot. Press hir right knee to mat with your left hand. I had to place the heels of my hands together before I stepped forward to grab my partner. Carlos demo’ed that if you have your right arm like this, it’s harder for the opponent to grab your right elbow and pull your arm in.

Now: take your hand off the ANKLE and place it on opponent’s waist. Place head just above that. Drive in and take side control (try to trap that arm). I had a heck of a time remembering to use the correct hand.

Next: same opening, but now opponent tries to throw hir leg over your head in preparation for moving out. )NOTE: when you are the uke, you must put that sole on the floor, not try to brace it against the opponent as I am wont to do.) Hug the thigh and place your head on the BACK of hir thigh, then move around the opposite side and drive in to take side control. Again: try to trap that arm. A detail I often neglect. And again: don’t let go of the ankle until you are safely around to where s/he can’t catch you in half guard. Once in position, you can (and probably should) release the thigh.

I wanted to spar, but it was too fucking hot.

It was hot enough that I forgot all about my recently-adopted habit of checklisting that I have belt, water bottle, and headgear before I get in the car. And I forgot my headgear, again. I’m so embarrassed and pissed at myself. I’ll be lucky if Carlos doesn’t confiscate it to teach me a lesson. I have forgotten it so often that I wouldn’t be able to really blame him if he did.

There are no anonymous mouthguards.

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Will you spend your time and pursue your training in a doomed attempt to not die? Or will you train to live harder and truer? –Campfire Tales From Hell

Thurs no-gi in Bellevue:

There was a massive, delicious-smelling buffet in the lobby when I walked in. I walked right by. Carlos told me that there was food (like I could have missed it). I said, “I didn’t come here to eat.” I thought he’d like that, but he informed me that I was being rude. Again with the awkwardness and frustration of trying to make better diet decisions in a world that constantly wants to shove food in your face. And again with the cultural minefields. Five years with this guy and I still can’t always figure out what’s going to offend him.

Pummelling.

Pummelling to backtake.

You have butterfly guard. Hug opponent around torso, lie back- load and lift.

Same, only now opponent whizzers you on one side. Grab hir wrist and hold it there while you remove your arm. Press hir wrist to hir own belly as you use your free arm to hug hir around the torso, lie back, and load-lift.

Same, only now as you lie back, yank hir arm hard across your bodies and kick with your opposite foot to spin the opponent and drop hir into your back mount. Hooks. Choke. Note- don’t forget to grab hir wrist in the backmount. This is a detail that I persistently forget across multiple techniques.

You standing, opponent sitting. Rocking-chair hir back. S/he sits up and wraps hir left arm around your right thigh. Dive your right hand UNDER hir arm. Place the blade of your left forearm on the back on hir neck. Gable grip. Sprawl. (ow… this made me want to tap right then… neck crank and spine bend…. and I was scared of what would come next) Rotate your arm circle so that your left bicep is facing the mat. Kick right leg through and drop to the mat. Head and arm choke. If you can’t get it, inch your body toward opponent so that your chest/belly cranks it worse (ow). I’m so happy I was doing this with Chrisanne. If it had been some big dumb whitebelt, I think I would have faked a stomachache and bailed. It was scary enough with Chrisanne.

Two phenomenal rolls with Chrisanne and one phenomemal roll with Danny.

Walked past the buffet a second time.

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Fri gi in Bellevue.

Same agenda, minus the head-and-arm, and plus this:

After the pummelling and backtake, your attacker lifts your feet off the floor in a bearhug. You need to achieve a slight shift to the side before s/he lifts you. Then you can hook a shin around hir chin from the outside as you are lifted, preventing hir from lifting you any higher or from throwing you. As s/he drops your feet to the floor, you bend your knees, reach between them, and grab hir foot. Yank. As soon as you have hir on hir back, kneebar. Then drop the leg, lift the foot that is between hir legs, and pivot to move to KOB. You can add a face/throat strike here (this is self defence), or- if you are working with Chrisanne- you can beep her nose.

Many drill reps, as Carlos is wont to due on Friday nights. Chrisanne and I had aching legs from the night before. I started out the butterfly boosts really strong (it was fun and felt good) but I slowed down considerably as time went on. Chrisanne gained eight pounds with each set. It was partially that I was already sore from the previous night’s reps, and partially that I was glucose-deficient (I had eaten lunch, but run errands before class, and should have bought a sandwich or something before going in), but mostly it was the fact that I am old.

I got a compliment from Carlos on my butterfly sweep to backtake- he liked my snappy foot kick as I twirled my enemy into my back mount. Chrisanne and I were both struggling a bit with the the fact that we were tired enough by then to make the technique quite physically challenging to complete even if we felt like we knew/understood the steps.

Positional training from butterfly guard. I suck from butterfly guard. Chrisanne is better at this than I am. She swept me two or three times, and I got squat.

I was too hungry to stay for sparring. It was punishingly hot and muggy, too.

Carlos (pointing at a random mouthguard lying on the floor): “Rodney! Your mouthguard!”

Me (wonderingly): “You can identify everybody’s mouthguards on sight?”

Yes. He can.

Zero sum

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I’m noticing this week how incredibly poor my diet decisions become when I am tired. Sometimes it’s like, “OMG, I just have to somehow survive until after (fill in final responsibility for the day)… whatever it takes…” Often what it takes is some sour cream and onion baked Ritz crackers.

I’m also noticing the distinct zero-sum pattern of my diet. If I’m trying to moderate my caffeine, I’ll think, “I’m going to eat whatever I want, just until I detox from caffeine…” and if I have been really disciplined about my food, it’s “I’ve been so calorically good today… I can have another Dr Pepper.”

Another zero-sum thing I will do is, “I did all this extra sparring this morning, I can have some cookies and not feel guilty.”

Food (and soda) are such cheap, easy, quick and immediate gratifications. If I feel like I need an indulgence (or if I feel like the world OWES me an indulgence, LOL), it’s immediate, easy, quick and cheap. I could indulge in a new book, a hot bubble bath, other non-food “treats”… but none of them have that immediate, easy, cheap and quick thing going on.

I need to break out of that “zero sum” thought pattern. I need to stop seeing junk food and pop as “treats” when they are actually a distinct destructive force in my life. I need to stop feeling that the world OWES me a Snickers bar when things are going crappy. I need to redefine the idea of an indulgence; that does not involve consuming things.

These self-destructive thought patterns are persistently keeping me at about ten lb heavier than I want to be, as well as probably phucking with my energy levels and sleep patterns.

Chicken wing

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It is important that when a new activity is being introduced, the practices that immediately precede it are well known to the student and the general movement pattern is similar to the new skill. The advantage of this strategy is that the student is confident in his own ability and has a starting point to work from. Having an existing frame of reference makes any demonstration or presentation of a new technique all the more effective for the student, because he can quickly relate it to his own existing range of skills. With similar movement patterns, the rate of learning is much faster than with different ones, because part of the skill is already known. Tony Gummerson, “Teaching Martial Arts”

Thurs lunchtime in Bellevue.

All five-minute flow rolls, rotating partners. Chrisanne points out that this is more aerobic than ACTUAL rolls.

Fri Evening in Bellevue. Carlos made Chrisanne and I split up and work with white belts. It was also Pick-On-Kitsune Night…. he was all up in my grill criticizing all my details. I know that this is a good thing- it helps me get all the little kinks out of my technique, and I am also aware that if he didn’t care about my progress, he wouldn’t bother to nitpick at me… but it does give me the Performance Anxiety Sweaties. If he picks on me too much, I start panicking and getting really frustrated and frantic and sloppy. Note: two or three times recently, Carlos has looked at my technique and indicated displeasure, leading me to ask, “What am I doing wrong?” He doesn’t like that word. It’s not wrong, it’s an opportunity to improve. Anyway- need to find a different phrasing to ask what the problem is (I’ll bet he won’t like “problem” either… okay, I need to ponder that….)

Standup: judo grips. Moving around. Stop with feet square to opponent. Let go of elbow grip. Grab your own lapel and jerk your torso to the side to free opponent’s grip (do NOT step back, and do not turn so far that you are facing away from the enemy). Slide your lapel hand down and place your free hand above it. Jerk opponent downward. S/he will try to posture up. Step in with the foot that is on the same side as your grips. Use the hand on the OPPOSITE side to grab the leg. Lots of places here for me to get confused with right/left.

Armbars from mount. When I do these, I like to put my hand on the mat on the same side of the head as the arm I’m attacking, yank the person aggressively up on hir shoulder, and pin hir there with my knees. Carlos made me place my hand on the opposite side of the head as the arm I’m attacking (which makes me feel off balance, leaning there with my arms crossed) and leave hir back on the mat. This is very different from what I am used to doing. Also (and I didn’t remember this until afterward), I continue to be sloppy about pinching my knees together on the arm.

This was new: From mount, you try to do the armbar and the opponent defends by wrapping the arm around your hip/waist. You trap the arm between your bicep and thigh. Note that the arm must stay bent to finish this. I had to mess around a bit to find the right angles, but it’s essentially a kimura. If it isn’t working, you can scoop your arm back and chicken-wing the opponent’s arm out further. Or do a wrist lock.

One great, competitive roll with Chrisanne. I was working hard to keep her out of turtle; and she got me in side control a few times, but I was trying mightily to stop that as well. This forced us both out of our customary games and made us both try some new things, which was exciting.

Half guard passing game

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The Tueller Drill:
Sergeant Dennis Tueller, of the Salt Lake City, Utah Police Department wondered how quickly an attacker with a knife could cover 21 feet (6.4 m), so he timed volunteers as they raced to stab the target. He determined that it could be done in 1.5 seconds.

Saturday in Seattle.

You sitting, opponent standing. S/he moves to your side. You turn so that the knee nearest opponent is on the mat and your far knee up. Near palm on the mat and far arm in high warding position. Brace against opponent’s collarbone and technical lift to get to feet.

Opponent sitting, you standing. You go to hir side and wrap your FAR arm under hir legs as if to pass. S/he pushed your head to the mat. You hop your feet over hir to the other side.

From closed guard: Do a basic guard break and underhook a thigh as if to stack and pass. Then hop to the other side instead. Opponent starts to roll away from you. Get a sash grip (make sure you are UNDER hir ceilingward arm) and stick your hook in under hir hip as she tries to gain hir knees. Take the back. At this point, get a choking lapel grip.

After we had drilled this for a while, we had the backmounted person free a hook and try to crabwalk out. Attacker keeps the sash grip and rolls belly down sprawling. A choke can often be accomplished from here. if it is not happening, loosen up enough to bail opponent to trying to escape, and retake the back.

Rolls with a handful of people I had never met before. Taught an upa to a white belt. Got two straight elbow locks on a blue belt- the same elbow lock I got on Sean yesterday. That is awesome. But I need to work on remembering to stay out of top half guard on people who are good at retaining half guard and/or doing useful things from bottom half guard. That blue belt had a gnarly half guard retention, and I actually commented on it, yet still found myself sliding right back into it repeatedly. I feel so good about my top half guard passing that I tend to just go into it and proceed to pass as a routine part of my game. It usually works, but I need to take note when I draw someone who is not letting me get away with that, and try OTHER things.

Tons o’ pressure

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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

Friday in Bellevue. I wanted some time to work on my knotty thigh muscles with the foam roller, but just as I started that, Luis wanted to flow roll- so of course that was too good to pass up.

Pummelling.

Self-defence- opponent front kicks at your belly, you deflect with your outside arm and then elbow strike to face with your opposite arm. I prefer the feel of using the same arm, braced with the second arm. But the critical part of this feels to be the circular dragon-ish flow. It’s been years since I’ve done this technique, and yet found myself right back to being paralyzed with left/right indecision as soon as I asked my partner to mix up the kicking leg.

From standup- opponent pulls guard and hold your head on hir chest. You make “L” shapes with your blade hands and thumbs, stick them in hir armpits and push yourself down as you move your head to the side and free it. Press one or both of foe’s hands to hir chest. Push one knee down and pass with your near knee sliding over hir thigh. Move to side control.

Same entry, only now opponent puts knee shield up as you try to pass. Scoop under the thigh and pass to the other side, with tons o’ pressure.

Since it was hot as a frying pan even with the garage door open, Chrisanne and I took off our gi tops and had several good, hard no-gi rolls. I was very determined to not let her turtle, since her turtle is a bitch that I have a very hard time attacking. She still got into it a few times, but less often than usual. I got a few taps, which made me happy, as she is quite hard to tap these days. I could see her getting frustrated, though, so made sure to give good feedback. She left me some gnarly bruises tonight.

“We get a little sweatier here.”

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If even for the blink of an eye you can control two of the other guy’s limbs with one of yours, either with angle or timing or some sort of clinch, then the opponent is in grave danger. – Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

No-gi in Bellevue.

Carlos is out of town, so Ben taught class. He decided on “all spars” 😉 He let us open the big door, which was wonderful.

Ben and I were talking to a brand new white belt in the lobby before class, and Ben said something about washing his gi and belt….

White belt guy: “Wash your belt? Are we supposed to wash our belts?”
Ben: “PLEASE do.”
WBG: “We didn’t wash our belts at my tae kwon do school.”
Ben: “We get a little sweatier here.”

When I heard that Ben was going to have us do all spars, I told him that Chrisanne was coming in, and to please make sure she didn’t end up with any huge spazzy assholes. He said that he hadn’t been planning to match people up. I gave him a Look. He matched people up. Thanks Ben.

I told Casey how much I had enjoyed having Lindsay back in class last week. He told me that she had been happy too, and that she’d been scared to work with anyone except him and me….. and she’d said that I was even better than he was. That made me feel so, so, so, so good. Few things make me feel better than knowing that I was a excellent partner to my teammate.

I also had a chance to mention to Sean that Ben and I had been marvelling over him before class… that he is here ALL THE TIME, and busting his buns, and getting really, really good. So technical. He got all smiley and said, “I just love this.” I said, “I know, right?” 🙂 I enjoy giving people positive feedback, especially when I notice that they have been putting in a lot of time and hard work.

I had all good rolls tonight. All with people better than I, which is how we learn. And Carlos wasn’t there to yell at me for setting up kneebars, so I tried to set up a few on Ben and Casey, but of course I failed. I did get two nice taps, though- a straight elbow lock on Sean and an RNC on somebody else (can’t recall whom at the moment). Everybody tapped me left and right, but I was really happy to get those two taps- with this caliber of opponents, when you get a tap, it means something.

Drilling while pregnant

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Use of force is a “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” issue. “This one is too little. This one is too much. This one is just right.” Campfire Tales From Hell

NO, I am not pregnant. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Whomever was thinking that, go rinse the inside of your skull out with bleach.

Evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Chrisanne and I were whining in the locker room about how our thighs ached after last night (interestingly, we both ached in different AREAS of our thighs), and commented that we hoped we would not be doing anything tonight involving that same half-squat.

Well…………

Same knee-push-through standing pass. I actually didn’t mind this too much because it’s one of my favorite passes, and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it even if it hurts a bit.

Then we did the one from last night where you prop the opponent’s thigh on top of your thigh- only this time, we passed on the opposite side. After passing, we sat on opponent’s shoulder with one hip while facing hir feet, and bent one leg to hook hir near ankle. As soon as the foe turns hir attention to this distracting question of “what is s/he trying to do with my ankle, and how can I get it out?” you pop into front mount.

Then: same entry as above, only you fake being sloppy with capturing the near arm. (This was pretty easy for me, as that was the detail I was sloppy with anyway). That arm ends up between your knees. After you catch side control, fake giving opponent a little space. When s/he goes to roll into you and single-leg you, hop your butt over hir body and plant it beside hir opposite hip. Catch that arm as you go over- armbar. The catch in this was, you don’t turn the same way you turn 99% of the time you go to do an armbar from a position like this. You turn the opposite way. It’s very weird. Of course I didn’t catch that odd detail on the first go-round, and I was turning the regular way when I drilled it…. and I had just begun instructing my poor hapless white belt partner in how to do it wrong when Carlos stopped us and fixed me.

For the previous two technique drills, I did not have that hapless white belt partner, because I had Lindsay- girl Lindsay, who has been off the mat since December. It was so nice to see her. She is- not HUGELY pregnant, but BIGLY pregnant- and I had to modify my drills accordingly. I wholeheartedly approve of continuing BJJ (with careful partners, and within reasonable parameters) until a pregnancy is advanced enough that it is mechanically unworkable. Drills, that is…. I wouldn’t want to spar (even slowmo flow rolling) with someone who was far enough along to be showing prominently. Lindsey had vanished off the mat as soon as she found out she was expecting. I think she was nervous about it. So I was quite anxious to not only be careful enough to avoid causing a guard-pass-induced miscarriage, but moreso careful enough to reassure her that it’s okay, you can do this, we can work around it and you will be fine. I felt confident about it- I have good control. (However, it made me feel a little jittery when Chrisanne got a text in the locker room before class that her sister had miscarried….)

I had done a warm-up flow roll with Casey before class, and after class I rolled a while with Chrisanne (going kind of hard and competitive) and then another while with Casey. Then Casey wanted to play with an extremely complex technique and use me as a demo dummy, which eventually led to Carlos jumping in (despite having already changed into street clothes) and demo’ing several terribly evil and convoluted techniques on both me and Casey.

Turns out that one of the brand new white belts I had worked with a little last week was a guy who works (as in, career-type “work”) with Casey. Apparently he had been all excited and telling his colleagues that he got his first sweep on the mat. Further details revealed a feminine pronoun.

I find myself a bit annoyed. I’m not certain, but I’m guessing that the white belt in question was the one who performed a very nice upa on me, so I let him have it. That’s how I usually work with white belts. I don’t try to pwn them. If they do a technique well, I will usually give it to them. I’m aware that 1)it’s a Big Deal to white belts when they start seeing their techniques work on the mat, 2)It’s a Bigger Deal when it’s a colored belt you’re doing it to, 3)The white belts usually can’t tell when we are going light on them and handing them stuff, and 4)They don’t realize that it’s douchebaggy to run around telling people who you tapped (or who you swept). I don’t care if he runs around telling other BJJ people that he reversed me, since the other BJJ people for the most part understand corollaries 1 through 4. What bothers me is hearing that he was boasting to his non-BJJ coworkers about it, who now- since they don’t understand corollaries 1 through 4- probably genuinely think this guy really scored a sweep on a purple belt girl at his second ever class. It makes women MA-ists look bad. And Gods know the non-MA public already has for the most part a crappy-ass view of a woman’s ability to be a competant MA-ist. Now I kind of wish I *had* pwn’ed him. Sigh. No, not really… I think the way I work with new white belts is encouraging and educational to them, and I don’t mind sacrificing some ego. But yeah, this tweaks me.

I think part of the reason this is getting to me a bit was a conversation I had last week with one of *my* colleagues. He’s an older guy with some (long) past MA experience, a pleasant fellow, but a bit old-fashioned. He knows I train, and at some point the conversation got around (jokingly) to “what if” it ever came down to me versus him. He laughed. Not just laughed, but hooted. Could barely get out (between peals of laughter), “What do you think YOU could possibly do against ME??!!!?” Now, he is bigger than me and outweighs me significantly, but The Incredible Hulk he ain’t. He also must have about 20 years on me (and *I’m* old), and has not trained in decades. I get the impression he did not train nearly as long as I. I’m fairly sure I could take this guy, if it came down to it. I also realize that he’s from a bygone generation and has some of the casual and unthinking misogynist brainwashing common to that generation. But man…. he hooted. And I was pissed. This shit again…. and again, and again, and again. And again and again.

Although I spend not-inconsiderable reflection time mulling over various verbally-disemboweling responses to stuff like this, the truth is that usually the offender is someone that I would prefer to not verbally disembowel, for reasons of social civility. In this case, if I offend this guy too much, the water-purification system on my clinical Chemistry analyzer might not get its filters changed on time. So I usually end up letting it go, or letting it go with such a minor protest as to not be taken seriously. And then I burn inwardly, and feel it chip away another bit of my confidence in my MA.

In this instance, in response to “What do you think YOU could possibly do against ME???!!??” I pulled out my Spyderco, flicked it open, and gestured to his gut (which, I might add, is carrying some extra fat… seriously, this would not be a fair match-up). But I wish I had felt like I could call him out on being misogynistic (I’d leave out the “delusional” part). Even more, I wish that so much of the world was not so damn misogynistic. It feels like a riptide that never, ever, for a single moment stops fighting against me. I wonder what it would feel like to have a penis and be taken seriously- either on the mat or in the street- just once.

Careful, Carlos will yell at you!

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In all athletic disciplines, it is the internal work that makes the physical mat time click, but it is easy to lose touch with this reality in the middle of the grind. – Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

Thurs evening No-gi in Bellevue.

Pummelling to backtake. Carlos emphasizes the changing of levels as you duck under foe’s arm (which I always want to cheat because of my poor knees). I am good about remembering to always capture an arm as I take the back, but I’m not good about remembering to capture the correct arm. I am aware that part of my sloppiness and reluctance about getting and maintaining wrist grips (especially in no-gi) is because my brain assumes that with most partners, I will not be able to keep the grip due to the largeness of their wrist versus the smallness of my hand. I think I am also subconsciously timid about injuring my thumb. Carlos usually uses a “C” grip. I don’t feel secure with that grip. I should experiment with it more often, though.

You standing, opponent lying on hir back with soles toward you. Place palms on hir belly (Note- have elbow bent and splayed a bit outward so as not to invite an armbar.). Dance feet from side to side, ending in a partial squat with alternating opponent’s feet between your knees. After a few reps, slide near knee over hir thigh and pass. UNDERHOOK THE FAR ARM (this is my persistent weakness) and trap near arm under your own armpit.

You standing, opponent sitting, handfighting. Grab foe’s ankles and rocking-chair hir back. As s/he sits up again and tires to grab half guard, grab hir right ankle with your L hand and press your rt palm to hir ribs. (Note- have elbow bent and splayed a bit outward so as not to invite an armbar. Also, so not let hir put that sole on the floor.) Press hir to the floor with that rt hand as you half-squat in standing half guard setup. Donkey-kick the RIGHT foot back (more challenge for me here, trying to remember which foot) and slide your thigh under hir rt thigh (now both hir legs are on your rt side). Pass guard, pressuring on the now-pretzeled opponent trapped under you. Opportunity here to snug your right arm in nice and tight for a little bit of a neck-crank if you want to be a douche. More challenge for me at THIS point figuring out where to put the opponent’s arms. I get confused on where I want to underhook, and I tend to sloppily leave at least one arm free to fight me. It’s so easy to get hyperfocussed on that juicy neck.

Same entry. As opponent rocking-chairs up and tries to hug your leg, you hook rt hand behind hir neck and place controlling elbow on hir breastbone. Yank hir elbow up and insert your knee into the space. Pass. Again, don’t get sloppy about trapping arms here. This is a variation on one of my favorite passes, and I was able to do it pretty smoothly, although I had to be really careful on Chrisanne’s ribs. I was also able to give her good constructive criticism on her controlling-elbow action (“Feel the way I brace this elbow?” “EeeRRRRRkkkk… yeah .” “You do the same thing to me.”).

These last two techniques had a lot of steps, and I remember how freakin’ frustrated I used to get as a white and blue belt trying to remember all the steps with the details and sequencing. It’s much better now. I still struggle some, but not nearly as bad as I used to. I don’t think this is a result of me getting better (ha ha), but I have seen most of this stuff in some form or other so that it’s not quite as much rote memorization of completely foreign choreography.

Same entry, but when opponent rocking-chairs up, you guillotine. Carlos wanted us to press our abs on the top of the person’s head. I feel great setting up the guillotine (it has always been one of my favorites), but it was really weird to position the head so centrally. I also couldn’t get over the feeling that that ought to be considered a neck crank. I am aware of having annoyed both Carlos and Cindy by continually asking “why isn’t (insert technique they just taught) a neck crank?” It’s a legitimate question, and I really want to know- but after seeing the expression on their faces the last few times I asked this, I felt like I had better quit asking. (Maybe I can ask Doug later on….) Note- try to get the bone at the base of the thumb right into the throat. Makes a huge difference. When Chrisanne did this, it made me want to tap as soon as she placed it there, even BEFORE she placed her belly on my head or did any pulling at all.

Positional training starting from one person standing, one person sitting on hir foot, rotating partners. After I lost Chrisanne, I had all huge guys- so I did not do too well with this. (The first was Big John, who is Big indeed, but experienced to be careful….. even so, Carlos stood over us and was like, “Be careful. Be careful. Don’t put your hand there Watch your weight. Be careful.”)

One roll with Chrisanne and one with Ben. Ben is definitely approching black belt level. He so effortlessly pretzels me any way he wishes. I tried to set up a kneebar, and he said, “Careful, Carlos will yell at you.” YES, I know!! Carlos wasn’t looking, so I got away with it, although of course Ben easily shucked me off and triangled me.

I had really wanted to do a hard workout tonight. But I (surprise surprise) slept poorly and was pretty tired…was feeling some various and sundry injuries hampering me….. also, I had to take a decongestant before class. By the time I drove home, I was reeling with exhaustion, even though it was supposedly a nondrowsy variety. I think I still managed to put in a decent class (and stayed for two rolls after- yay me), but not as hard as I had wanted to work.

I have been good about eating tons of eggs lately. Mostly scrambled, although I found some frozen meat fritattas in the half-off section at the Safeway deli and really liked them. I am going to try to make my own slightly modified version.

Having a LOT of trouble controlling my snacking and binge-eating at work. There is so often junk food there, even if I manage to refrain from bringing any with me. I have even resorted to the vending machine a couple of times lately, which I am usually too cheap to do- I need to NOT allow that to become a habit. I can feel the conditioning kicking in and I’m wanting to search for stuff to put in my mouth as soon as I finish my initial maintenence tasks and get a breather in the work flow. On Tuesday there was a trail mix in the break room. It had chocolate chips in it. After I had picked at this for a while despite myself, I took it down to the coat room to get it out of my sight. (Assistant: “Hey, where are you going with that? (looking like kicked puppy) “Well, I brought it to share… but maybe I just won’t bring it any more.” I tried to explain that I was watching my weight and I can’t have snacks (especially chocolate) sitting at my elbow, but I managed to offend her. There’s also one other assistant in particular who loves to bake and is always bringing in cookies and crap. She also gets all wilted and sad-puppy-faced if I put her stuff in the coat room. This is frustrating. It feels like even when I’m trying, other people are actively sabotaging me. I know they don’t mean any harm, which makes me feel like a terrible person for hurting their feelings. But geez. Healthy eating is difficult enough without it being a social minefield with the people I have to work with every day.)