Preserving your identity

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  Fighting, counter-assault, hand-to-hand– whatever you want to call it– is very much a thing of guts and nerve, visceral, not intellectual. And yet, you have a brain. Use it.   -Rory Miller
Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Did something to my left shin and it’s been bugging me all week. I was able to do most stuff yesterday and today, but I did pass on the sparring portion of tonight (with the exception of a roll with Doug).

Standup, no-gi-type grips (meathook behind neck, outside tie). Pummel back and forth a few times like this, then duck under and take the back.

Same, then the backtaken person does this escape: on the same side that opponent has your wrist trapped, take one step forward and then turn sharply back, using the free forearm to break down opponent’s arm. Single leg from here.  I had some trouble here because as always, I struggle with left/right and could not remember which foot to step forward with.

Same standing guard passes that we did last week- underhooking the thigh and passing around the back, then around the front.
Have been thinking a lot about yesterday’s quote, the part about hanging onto the past because it’s preserving your identity.  There’s also the good one about  how dwelling on past bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.

I carry around a lot of baggage and bitterness, to my detriment. I have a very visceral repulsion toward the concept of forgiveness in these cases. To me, forgiving says, “It was okay that you did that”.  Fuck no. It was not. It never will be okay.

And yes, I am intellectually aware that forgiveness is about healing the forgiver and not about letting the forgivee off, and all that… but emotionally it just doesn’t wash. There are people who have done things to me that I will never forgive.

I am aware that they are not lying awake at night. More than one of them failed to ever understand what they did wrong or that they even did anything wrong at all. It costs them nothing that I hold a grudge, it just costs me (ironically, this serves to make me even more bitter).

If you’re still bleeding years later, it proves that you were “right”, right? That the other person is unspeakably evil? That you deserve sympathy, admiration, help, slack? We already established that the perpetrators don’t give a shit that they hurt you; they are going on about their merry lives while you lie in the ditch and moan. If you let go of it, then NOBODY is carrying it, right? Somebody has to be left holding the bag. WTH, does it just evaporate? Does that prove that it didn’t matter, that it didn’t really hurt that much, it wasn’t so bad, that “it was okay that you did that”?

I’ve been stuck and frustrated about resolving this emotional baggage, because I just can’t put a spin on “forgiveness” that will make it palatable to my logic-rejecting inner child, and I couldn’t find a way to reframe the problem.

So, “preserving your identity”……..

We are brainwashed from toddlerhood in this society to admire/idealize heroes and Disney Princesses who were orphaned, abused, and otherwise got shat on and went on to rise above. It’s a glamorous identity to have been fucked over and then rise above. Movies don’t get made about people who were raised by loving parents in plenty and comfort, married their high school boyfriend/girlfriend, had a fun and enlightening education, got a great career, and had a successful happy life. If you cut out the part of Malala’s story where she had to struggle to get an education and then nearly got murdered for it, and only show the wonderful work she is doing now, it’s not quite the same. The hardships and struggles are part of the hero’s journey, the hero’s identity.

At what point does the tragic backstory become baggage? At some point do you get to choose whether that tragic past gooses you to get better or just drags you down? At some point do you get to choose when to just cut those chapters out of your book and begin at the better parts? It seems like there is an inevitable degeneration into using the tragic backstory as a crutch. “You can’t expect me to accomplish X, after what happened to me,”…. “You should marvel that I am able to do Y, after what I had to overcome”….. yes, it is a BIG part of one’s identity. Big enough that the prospect of excision is quite daunting.

No pressure

bjj93

The problems of today cannot be resolved by dwelling on the past. If you are doing that, the past isn’t the problem, it’s you. As much as the past may serve to preserve your identity, you hanging on to it isn’t helping.

First it ignores your actions now. Second it keeps you from objectively viewing the situation — including your part in it. Third, when you approach others with the attitude of blame and condemnation, you give them no reason to work with you. Fourth, by playing the victim, you give them no reason to trust you.

 The last is more important than you think. Because without trust, there is no possibility of resolution or change.
  -Marc MacYoung
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A friend of mine recently got promoted to brown (congratulations again!). I realized that I haven’t even thought about belts in a really long time. It’s been great. I haven’t gotten a promotion in forever, and it’s been great. I’d still like to backtrack to, oh, one- or two- stripe blue if I had the choice.  But at least as long as I’m just parked here, I don’t feel like I’m in the backseat of a driverless racecar careening down the highway. It’s been great. I hope I never get promoted again.
Thursday lunchtime gi in Bellevue. I feel particularly tired this week for some reason. I felt exhausted waiting for class to start.

Standup: judo grips, stick right foot behind opponent’s left foot. (Note, keep toe on the mat and not hooking the shin like I wanted to do. Also, Carlos corrected me on my positioning- I was ending up with my feet a long ways away from the opponent; I need to step in closer and pay attention to not sliding/dancing outward while executing this.)  Opponent steps out. You drop to your knee and pick up hir OTHER heel. Takedown. (Must also pay attention to where you try to put that foot when I pick it up- if I just fling it upward because I’m hyperfocused on the fall, I end up yanking it between my own legs and tangling us up.) Note that although an exaggerated upward elbow-fling before the knee-drop is discouraged, clearing that arm is important- and you also want to try to get the person off balance. Also note that there is a danger of getting caught in half guard after you dump hir and as you move to side control.

I am still working on my grips/hand positioning while doing things like this. I like the firm behind-the-heel grab, but for some reason in the heat of the moment I always seize the pants cuff further up. I think I’m subconsciously anxious about getting kicked in the face. But that higher grip makes it much harder/more unlikely to get the takedown, *MORE* likely to get kicked in the face because the opponent has more mobility and room to use leg strength, and also my ideal is to be less dependant on clothing grips so that my techniques will work in both gi and no-gi. My excellent aim should make it easier for me than for most people to whip in there and snag that heel. I should use my best weapons to their fullest extent.

Standing guard pass using underhook. One thing Carlos touched on that got my attention- because it is a persistant sloppy habit of mine- is where to put your arms as you are passing, so that they are less attackable. In this case, he put his arm across the opponent’s belly with the hand on the opposite hip. People at GB (black belts excepted) do not attack my arms consistantly enough while I am passing to keep me honest. If I rolled more with Cindy- who NEVER misses the smallest opening for an arm attack while I am trying to pass- I might be able to break this habit.

Same guard pass, only opponent thwarts your pass to the side by hanging that leg heavy on your uderhooking shoulder. Counter this by going around the opposite side. (I was actually a little bummed to have Chrisanne drilling this, as it is a pass defense I use a LOT, and now she has a good counter and is going to be jamming me, LOL….)

King Of the Hill, starting from any guard, pass vs sweep. I was not doing too great here today. I fought one white belt guy for a long time as he tried to “sweep” me with muscle, and finally had to give it to him….. sigh. Slightly frustrating. But this is one of the things that honestly bothers me a lot less when I’m not worrying about belts. I feel less like shit when I get manhandled by a white belt. Not that getting manhandled by white belts is a good thing…. but the self-loathing mental/emotional spirals are a lot more problematic than the butt-kicking.

Still parked at about 10lb over my normal walking-around weight. I *really* want to jettison at least those 10lb before my June trip. Starting to think that a series of short fasts might be the only way to budge it. Just kick a pound or two each time, then try to maintain for a bit.

Still raining consistantly, so little dog-walking/hiking.   😦

The training partner you don’t really want

bjj080704

 

Never double down on stupid. Don’t reinforce failure. When you catch yourself doing the wrong thing, don’t let your monkey brain con you into doing the wrong thing harder. Always be humble enough to admit when you’ve screwed it up and change. And adapt. And win.  -Rory Miller

Three classes in three days, Thurs/Fri/Sat.  Good rolls with skilled people before and after class, including Doug and Casey on Friday, and Lindsey on Saturday.

Ghost escape from under side control (hey, I know the name of a technique!)  I Youtubed this very early in my BJJ career and tried it out on my kung fu teacher to see if it would work.

Another escape from side control- in which you block the crossface, grab opponent’s arm, and roll AWAY from hir, pushing hir arm toward your feet as you sit up and turn back in. Fortunately we did this both Friday and Saturday, as I struggled mightily with it on Friday. We are so hardwired to not turn away from the opponent like that. The two keys- have a firm hold on that arm and push it very aggressively toward your feet; and make sure your elbow ends up above the opponent’s arm (otherwise you can get elbow locked, as Carlos demonstrated on me).

Both of these escapes involved technical lifts, so a lot of getting up and down… always a slog for us old folks.

Takedown drills- opponent locks hands behind your neck, you lace hands over hir elbow and drag down. Then abruptly fling your elbow up underneath hir OTHER arm. Take the back (easy for me) or place your head on hir chest, arm behind hir waist, and kick leg out from under as if you’re dipping hir (hard for me). I should have drilled more of the latter, since it was harder (especially remembering where to put the head), but I am really oriented to that backtake.

Peter: “This is going to be The Year Of Back Mount for me.”
Me: (back mounting him) “THE YEAR OF BACK MOUNT!!!!!!!!!”
Peter: “Wait… it’s supposed to be the other way.”
Me: “You did not specify that.”

On Friday, I was anxious because for a while it was looking like I was going to have to drill with Carlos’ girlfriend, who just started training. Normally I like training new people, but sorry…… this is pressure I do not need. I trained with Henrique’s white-belt wife before- but they were fighting at the time, so he ignored us utterly, so that was fine.  😉   I would be really uncomfortable working with Carlos’ girlfriend in a class that he was teaching.

Saturday, I went to put in my contacts and found that one was torn…. so I had to do class blind.  When Rodrigo was matching us up to roll, I couldn’t see that he was calling me out to pair me up with Amy, so I just stood there in the line for way too long. At the break, I apologized and told him that I didn’t have my contacts, so I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The next time he went to pair me up, he waved both arms above his head at me like he was flagging down a train.

At the end of class, he INSISTED that I be in the class picture. I always avoid the pictures, and they all know about that, so they usually leave me alone. Today he was so insistant, I reluctantly caved.

Weight has been dead steady for a week now. Frustrating. At least it’s not going up.

Blocking with your face

purple

 

 

“A small daily task, if it really be daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.” -Anthony Trollope

Friday BJJ in Bellevue: A second helping on Brazilian Buffet. I did well at staying on top of people tonight, but still lack in the subbing stage.
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Thurs BJJ in Bellevue: Dreels. Pummelling, Double-leg takedowns, then gradually adding side control, KOB, then a weird armbar that I can’t even begin to describe.
It was nice to be dreelling with Amy, who is always ready to put in a serous effort. Also, she is now advanced enough to be really good for dissecting things and experimenting. In fact, we experimented so much that we got in trouble with the prof.
One long roll with Justin. We rolled until Carlos kicked us out of the gym.
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Missed Friday class because I picked up an extra work shift, but I did get a walk- as I always do when I work day shift, because I am too cheap to pay a parking fee at the hospital garage.
I’m down seven pounds (there was a week-long plateau in there…).  I was doing one can of pop per day at first but now I’m back up to 2 or 3. That’s still an improvement over my usual, although I continue to see little if any change in my weight, energy level or anything else by cutting down pop. I have been working hard at one of my biggest hurdles- snacking at work. Also, having mouse-sized meal portions pre-portioned is a good tactic- It prevents me from going into the kitchen raving hungry and sticking a giant portion in the microwave. If I’m still hungry after my single mouse-portion, I try to wait a while before having another.
I’m hungry a lot. I always complain about trying to control my weight, but it’s ten times harder when you’re on a medication that is actively working against you and trying its damndest to turn you into a blimp.
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Thursday BJJ. I had to do evening no-gi because my dog needed to see the vet in the afternoon. Can’t remember the last time I did no-gi.

Double-leg takedown drills, to side control, to front mount. Let them bridge, then take the back and choke.

Double-leg to side control, opponent defends the mount by putting foot on knee. You turn and sit on your hip facing hir feet. Overhook hir thigh and pull it UP  (scoot your butt back first, or it won’t work) and then down to the mat. (Opponent’s back is now twisted painfully.) Place the sole of your foot on the mat between hir knees and scoot your other knee up to hir belly. Take the elbow closest to hir feet and place it on the mat on the far side of hir hip. Summersault over your shoulder so that your head is at hir feet. As you go over, make sure your knee is hooked securely behind hir knee- grab the ankle with your hand and stuff it further in there just to be sure. This will flip and twist the person right into your back mount. It’s complicated, but lord is it ever smooth once you get all  the steps right…. and from having had it done to me, it’s one of those “WTH just happened??!??” moments.

Positional training starting from several points of this technique. While takedown sparring, I went for an aggressive underhook on Chrisanne and she blocked with her face. As a general rule- blocking with your face is never a good plan. Luckily I did not break her nose, but I felt awful.

I have lost half of my medication-induced extra weight. It is coming off very reluctantly. Hungry ALL THE TIME.   😦