Bad Santa!



There will never be a simple formula to give clear answers to know how much force is enough. Force incidents are chaos and we can’t write a cookie-cutter answer to chaos.  –Rory Miller

Carlos: Are you coming to class on Saturday?
Me: No, I have to work.
Carlos (nodding thoughtfully) I need to talk to your boss.
Me: You could take him.
Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

“Brazilian Buffet” (ie, all spars). I went with Nelson first, who is injured, as usual. Ribs. (or as the Brazilians would say, “Reebs.”)   One of the reasons I love rolling with Nelson is that it’s all technical. Although gripfighting with the judo guy is a foregone conclusion. I shook my finger in his face when we were done and said, “No white belts.” There were plenty of colored belts in the room who would know enough to stay off his reebs if asked.

Garrick was setting me up for a sub when he realized that I was setting him up for a keylock from a very strange position.  I hadn’t really expected it to work, but it distracted him enough that I was able to escape his sub attempt.

Went with one of the white belt guys that I’ve been giving tips to, and was pleased to see that he is responding correctly to a number of situations. “I see you have been learning a thing or two in here.”  “I’m trying!” He said (again) that he always learns a lot rolling with me. (Okay, so I never really get tired of hearing that….)

I got a roll with Cindy, too. It’s been a while. She told me that she had made a very large black belt retire to the bathroom after being crossfaced. I was not surprised. Cindy’s crossfaces are evil!

Me (trying to escape back mount):  No! I don’t *want* to sit in your lap!
Doug: Come tell me what you want for Christmas!
Me: No! Bad Santa! Bad Santa!

Thursday and Friday



If anyone strikes my heart, it does not break, but it bursts, and the flame coming out of it becomes a torch on my path.   Hazrat Inayat Khan

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Lots of drills. Double and single leg setups. Pulling guard. Cross collar chokes from closed guard.

We worked a lot on the cross collar choke from guard, including the variation that I really like where you grab a handful of gi at the back of the opponent’s shoulder (that’s one of my highest-percentage subs, although my percentage goes down with people who know my game enough to be aware that I’m always looking for that one).

King of the hill. Back mount- keep back mount vs escape. Carlos reminded me (painfully) that even if I am good about not crossing my ankles, my feet are still not safe if they are side by side. They need to be lopsided.

Some fun rolling with Christy, starting from standup.
Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Just tried to transcribe the takedown we did tonight, and failed… it was a new one with a lot of steps in it. I know I could do it if I had someone standing in front of me, but my swiss-cheese memory is confusing some of the lefts and rights, and I don’t want to transcribe it wrongly.

Armbars from guard, using the gi tails to wrap the bicep and prevent the opponent from lawn-mowering out. I had to work very hard, and be very careful, to keep Chrisanne’s short little hobbit-arm from popping that elbow out. I had to make sure to brace the elbow against my chest or belly until I had that go tail wrapped really tight. The tail cannot be too high or too low. Tricky.

Always good to partner with Chrisanne, as we can challenge each other with just enough resistance to make the other person see and correct her sloppy bits.

Some fun rolling with Chrisanne, starting from standup.

Almost broke my arm tonight.



One we learn how to use adversity to our advantage, we can manufacture the helpful growth opportunity without actual danger or injury.  -Josh Waitzkin, The Art Of Learning
Today I turned my ankle on some rocks and fell flat on my back on the hiking trail- but it was a fabulous breakfall, and didn’t hurt a bit. I bounced right back up. Then I had to chase down my dog….. who, completely unperturbed, just kept going and left me lying there.   😦

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

You are lying under side control. Use left arm to hug around opponent’s shoulders and hook your fingers in hir armpit. Scootch your legs to your right, scootching opponent’s legs along with them, until you can thread your right arm over hir near leg and under the far one. Plant your left sole on the mat and sweep. Keep all your grips, and your own body will loft over the opponent’s and settle into a much better side control- one with YOU on top. Don’t let go of that leg.

Same thing, only when you go to do the sweep, opponent moves hir arms to get away from your hug, and is now sort of Supermanning on top of you. Thread that arm OVER hir arms and under hir chin, and roll hir over your face. Likewise, your body will naturally follow. Note that this time, you roll overtop the foe in the OPPOSITE direction that you did previously (ie, toward hir head).

Both of these techniques were fun, but very abs-intensive! I was feeling the burn right above my belly button after just a few reps.

My first several reps of this second technique went fine, aside from the fact that I was rolling Christy right over my face, which was mildly annoying. I almost let it go, but then Doug walked by- so I decided to go ahead and ask him what simple adjustment would prevent this issue, because I knew there would be one. He had me pause and tip my head closer to Christy’s just before I rolled her, like I was telling her a secret. Unfortunately, I was focusing so hard on that detail that I went the wrong direction when it came time to flip my body over her, and *****OF COURSE******* that would be the moment Carlos walks by.  (Why does that always happen????!????? Does that happen to everybody or just me?????!!!!! ARGH!)

Then he made me do it on the Stupid Side, and I looked like even more of a moron because I blanked and couldn’t remember the steps on that side.  I said, “I have to stop and think about it.” and he said that he wanted me to think, because I still had to be here for an hour.

Then we did King Of the Hill from side control, and Carlos yelled at me and Sean because we kept going when I got half guard, and we weren’t supposed to.

Next- just for a trifecta of looking like a wingnut in front of the prof tonight- I got in side control on top of him, and he reversed me in about .0000000002 of a millisecond. I knew it would be quick, but not THAT quick. I was so surprised that I exclaimed, “SHIT!!!” quite loudly. Carlos does not like cussing on his mat. I slapped both hands over my mouth, but it was too late!

I was KOTH’ing with another guy when he executed a *very* nice technique that I was not familiar with. It was one of those ones where you have to sweep your own self in order to avoid getting your arm broken. One of the ones where they are already in the middle of an unstoppable motion, so you can’t just yell TAP and freeze the action. Unfortunately, I didn’t parse what was happening until *almost* too late, and then it was like


….and I had to really utilize all my experience with analyzing and executing just how to change the angle, and exactly when to relax the arm and shift my weight. In a flash. Ironically- even though I was tapping a moment later- it made me feel masterful. I figured it out and I handled it, instinctively and instantaneously. If he would have done that to a white belt- or maybe even a blue- it would have broken the arm.

“No matter how fast you do eet, you still have to stay here for an hour.”


Peyton Quinn’s rules of conflict:
Don’t ignore him.
Don’t insult him.
Don’t challenge him or accept his challenge.
Leave him a face-saving exit.
Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Being the last kid picked for the kickball team today landed me a black belt drilling partner (Sean). I managed to fall/roll over his hand and also clock him in the forehead within the first five minutes. Sometimes I think I should be wearing a clown suit on the mat.

Carlos had the heat cranked up to “Brazilian Beach In July” again today. We did a long sequence, adding a new piece every 10 min or so, but always starting with the double-leg from standing.

Double leg from standing. I continue to suck at wrestling takedowns. I know I’m not getting close enough to the opponent during the setup- and also, going down (and- especially-getting up again) is difficult on my bad knees. Sean wants me to change levels as a distinct step BEFORE sticking my lead foot between his feet. As I am doing the double-leg, I can’t help thinking, “Good lord, his thighs are like cement pillars.” I hope I have cement pillars someday.

Failed double-leg to circling to the back and bear hugging. You lift opponent’s feet off the mat, s/he wraps one shin around your shin to prevent being picked all the way up and dumped sideways.

You have no choice but to put opponent down. S/he reaches between hir own feet and grabs your ankle, pull to take down. (Note- when you are being taken down in this fashion, do not attempt to keep the bear hug. All that will get you is the opponent thudding down on your ribs like a cement mixer.)

Opponent steps out and pivots (with bent knee, not a big straight-leg spin that will expose the leg to grabbing) and goes to KOB, then front mount. After waiting 3 secons in each position to get points, s/he sinks one cross collar grip.

I had learned long since that one does not want to push the choking hand across one’s own throat- thus telling your opponent, “No, buddy, don’t bother to choke me- let me choke myself! No problem!” So when Carlos told us to put one hand on the wrist and one on the elbow, I thought I knew what I was doing. But he wanted us to do something that felt counter-intuitive…. PULL the wrist cuff away from the choke. This necessitated switching hands for me. I still have enough Tiger mentality that the world is all about PUSH to me… it rarely occurs to me to pull. I had to pause at this step the first few times and think it over.

Upa. After that bobble, I was so eager to move on that I explosively upa’ed the crap out of Sean, and the next thing I saw was Carlos’ face.

“Why you breedge that way?”

“Uh, that would be stupid because he can post with that hand.”

“Then why you breedge that way?”

“Because I was in too much of a hurry and didn’t think.”

“No matter how fast you do eet, you still have to stay here for an hour.”   Which actually was kind a revelation, which I will try to keep in the forefront of my mind.

After upa, guard pass. A few different variations of leg spaghetti, involving trapping the opponent’s arm across hir own body and keeping both  hir legs stretched out. I felt really off balance during the pass- like it would be easy to tip me onto my back- but Sean explained (and I saw for myself when he took his turn) that the opponent had no leverage for even the tiny push it would have taken to tip me over.

A little King Of the Hill, starting from side control. Top person try to sub, bottom person escape, catch guard or half guard. Camille got a legit sub on me. Awesome. She did a couple of abrupt switches on me- when we were straining in one direction, she suddenly switched to something else in the opposite direction and caused me to use my own force against myself. I love that, and still struggle to work it into my own game. Both white belt girls are giving great Shoulder Of Justice. They will need that, as tiny as they are.

A roll with a white belt who was delighted for me to school him in a Bunch Of Things That I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was a White Belt.  I told him that the best way to thank me would be for him to do these things to me next time we rolled. I love it when somebody kicks my ass with something I taught them.