Breaking up is hard to do

bjj22You can use a strong wrestler’s strength against him, but it is almost impossible to defend against a mental edge. Every time you execute a move, the smarter wrestler will counter, attack and counter. The smarter wrestler,  the wrestler with the better technique, with the better inventory of moves, with the agility and mental toughness to keep coming at you, is the wrestler who will win.-Kyle Maynard



Thursday BJJ at Bellevue: all spars.

Friday I missed. I spent the first half of the day in bed with a headache and extreme exhaustion. I felt somewhat better in the afternoon, but decided to not push my luck with getting repeatedly hurled o the ground and throttled.  This turned out to be a fortunate thing, as my house nearly burned down that evening- and that is an that you don’t really want to miss. The animals and I were evacuated and spent 2 days sleeping on Cindy’s floor. (“The house is really dirty,” she says when I call her to inform her that all five of us are inviting ourselves over for an indefinite length of time. “Cindy, my standards right now are very low. If it’s not ON FIRE, it will look great to me.”) Luckily the area fire department was on point and they did not let my house burn down. Tense weekend, though.

Thursday- all spars again. I got an armbar on Amy that I was very pleased with- it was from a weird position and I am still not great at sussing those out. Amy beats me now 7 times out of every 8, so it was that much more the sweeter. (Note that I need to remember she is VERY GOOD at grabbing kimuras as I pass her guard. She got me *TWICE* with the same routine.) I managed to mess up my shoulder…. I had a few moments of “I should really tap now, but I DON’T WANNA tap….” Thought I was over that crap, but the ego still rears its ugly head once in a while. And now I pay.

Thought I might have to sit out Friday due to shoulder, but Chrisanne said she’d come in, so I went (feeling safe in her hands).

Standing guard pass to KOB

Standing guard pass to KOB to kimura

Standing guard pass to KOB to armbar

I was happy that I am finally remembering consistantly to grab the pants with that armbar. I am also now able to usually remember to pin the opponent between my shin and knee. Still need to get a bit better about clasping the forearm to my chest (grab my own lapel if need be). Carlos also wants me to clasp the forearm more closely to my chest in the kimura.

A little positional sparring from spider guard- pass vs defend.

So there’s where it happened…. I stacked Chrisanne- not much, but apparently too much- and hurt her neck.  I was horrified to have hurt her YET AGAIN, and Carlos walked over and told us we had to stop seeing each other for a while.

I feel terrible. I have always prided myself on my control, and on being able to be careful while working with smaller and less experienced opponents. Right now I am feeling insecure about something that I have always felt was one of my biggest strengths in BJJ.  It is making me feel tentative, and I hate that- I have been fighting “tentative” in myself all along and this is feeding my dragon.

Chrisanne is difficult because I know she does not want me to go easy on her…. and she’s good enough that if I *do* go easy on her, she’s just going to dominate me to the point that it’s not going to be useful for either of us. I’m pretty sure she would be pissed off at me if I started doing that.

Also- she had had a shitty day. She felt allergy-ill and didn’t plan to come in, and then she had some bad crap happen to her and decided to come and and blow off some frustration. I feel really awful that instead of helping her do that, I ended up making her feel worse.
In better news: I have managed to drop 14 of the 15lb that I gained from being on sleeping pills. I am relieved. I didn’t like being that weight- it felt like I was wearing a fat suit. going to have to be very careful from now on.

I have a new favorite choke.



When fighters fight, their souls touch. –Jacob Duran

Previous Thursday and Friday classes, Bellevue: all spars. Didn’t have much to say about them.

Thursday lunchtime gi, Bellevue:

You have butterfly guard. Get right-hand cross lapel grip and place left foot on opponent’s right bicep to stretch hir out and pull hir forward. She will have to put up hir right knee, where you have stuck in a butterfly hook (your right foot).

Push that butterfly hook through deeper. PULL THE ARM DOWN and under your ankle, yank it up onto your belly. (This was the bugaboo for me, for some reason- had trouble braiding all the limbs in the correct order in that particular little knot). Triangle-lock your other leg so that opponent’s right leg and arm are both trapped here. You need to sweep to the side that hir post is NOT (I had a little trouble with that too…). The trick (assuming you have managed to trap the arm effectively) is pinching your knees together and tipping them to the outside to spill the opponent. Pinching the knees together is a persistant failing for me over several techniques, so I really need to pay attention to the techniques that use that.

Another thing that stymied me was that you have to be square with the opponent, flat on your back, and disturbingly far away from hir to make that last bit work. I am used to having to curl up like a pill bug, quirk to the side, and tuck myself as far under an opponent as possible for most sweeps. And NEVER NEVER flat on your back. This one was the opposite, and it always freaks me out when I have to try to do those rule-breaking outlier techniques.

John was having trouble as well, and Carlos was getting frustrated with both of us. He got so frustrated with me at one point that he walked off (I hate that worse than anything), but he was a lot harder on John. I whispered to John, “He’s being rough on you because he’s getting ready to promote you to brown,” and John thanked me.

One great roll after class with John. I also found his pulse.

I am going to take a CPR/first aid recertification class, and finding the pulse quickly and consistantly was one of the things that I had problems with last time I tool this class back in college (when dinosaurs walked the earth). I want to find pulses on everybody I meet until I feel really comfortable with it. So far I have quickly and easily found five out of six; that sixth person I had to grope a little, but I did find it.

There is a fire station only 2 miles away from my house. I had always intended to get am EMT certification, just to have the skills, but with the station that close it would be nice to volunteer there or pick up a little extra money now and then. They will even pay for your EMT classes, if you commit to a certain workload. It’s in Everett and the scheduling is going to be very difficult with my work schedule. I think I can power through it, but I will have to wait until my two elderly dogs pass….. I just can’t be away from the house that much while I am taking care of them. That’s okay. I can use the interim time (years, maybe!) to study so that I know all the Book Learnin’ backwards and forwards by the time I do the class.

In the meantime, I am going to check pulses obsessively on all of my BJJ bretheren. I have promised to not try to transition to a choke if they let me.

Friday evening:

Women’s class- same techniques as yesterday. Good, I needed more work on them. Happy to see that I was not the only person struggling with the same aspects.

2nd class (ooof)- I almost died doing the second class, but it was worth it because I learned my NEW FAVORITE CHOKE.

Pulling half guard from standing (why am I so clumsy at this? I have done it before and was not this clumsy…. I need to practice this more).

Opponent drapes over you as you have half guard (lying on your right side). You grab a handful of gi at hir knee with your right hand, and stick your thumb into the back of hir collar. With a twist of your body, you can now roll the person over yourself and dump hir on the opposite side (You are now lying side by side, feet to head, on your backs). Do not let go of grips as you roll up and take side control.

THIS CHOKE- oh my. You are in bottom half guard and the opponent is squashing you. (I like it already, because how much time do I spend here? YEARS!!!! What am I able to do from here? VERY LITTLE!!!!)

You are on your right side, frame up and use your right elbow to shove opponent’s top half toward your left. (Note that in no-gi, you can also do this, cupping opponent’s shoulder.) Snake your left hand under opponent’s arm as if you are trying to reach under your own armpit- then grab your own bicep instead. This can be a choke or (with a body twist) a shoulder lock- and it comes on FAST, so be careful and don’t slam it.

Simple. Effective. From the position that I spend the most time paralyzed in. I am in love.


I found Chrisanne’s and Doug’s pulses. They are alive.