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.   😦

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Speed Friday

bjj58

Most people are grass-eaters with their heads down on the ground. The jackals and lions know this and think of them as that. Hold your head up and walk like you are the biggest, baddest lion that walks. The jackals and lions will notice and leave you alone because they don’t want to get hurt. Don’t challenge them because they might feel they have to respond to it. All you want is their respect, not their dignity. -Greg Hamilton

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Earlier, I had walked 2 miles (I had a work meeting) and also made a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting visit to the Habitat For Humanity store- which I will elaborate upon later.

As usual, Kevin and I fought over who would defer to the other in line. I informed him that soon he would have another stripe and then he wouldn’t be able to argue about it.

Tonight was a “drill as fast as you can” night. “Speed Friday” Carlos called it.

Ankle pick from standing- drop to right knee between opponent’s knees, grab behind the top of hir calf with your right hand and behind hir ankle with your left. Stand up and pick up the ankle. Opponent’s job: put both palms to mat and attempt to handwalk/scuttle away until footing can be regained.

Same ankle pick, only this time as opponent attempts to scuttle, you clasp that ankle against your body and grab at hir other ankle with your right hand. Carlos had to point out to me that those of us with short arms may need to “turn the corner” around opponent’s body in order to reach that second ankle- don’t just stay where you are and strain after it. Lift the second ankle, opponent will be twisted in the air to be dumped on hir back. Step between hir knees and push hir ankles to the mat (or to hir butt) to defend any DLR or other reguard attempts.

KOB to spinning armbar, armbarred person turns to push on knee and deliberately brings top knee up to bait a pantleg grab. If you fail to bring the knee up, the armbar-er may be moved to apply better technique and underhook your knee instead, which will make it difficult to do the next move- which is to straighten your leg to break the grip. Hitch hiker escape to pop your head up UNDER/BEHIND their butt, get up and move around to KOB. I was happy to practice that hitch hiker escape, as it is a technique that for some reason I always seem to be absent on the day it is taught/practiced, and I haven’t worked it enough for it to be instinctual regarding which way to go. I have always (and still do) regard it as a bit of a hole in my game. I don’t use it much, as I favor a yank of the elbow down to the mat (works great with my short arms)… but it is one of those basic techniques that every jiu jitsu artist should be able to do well.

Carlos kept urging us to go faster and faster, and began to pit couples against each other in speed. Of course Kevin and I, being the ranking belts in the room, could not allow mere white and blue belts to beat us- so we really turned it on. This resulted in some exhaustion-induced clumsiness (esp with the ankle pick) as the night progressed. At one point he went to his knee and then went shooting right on past me while I stood there and watched him slide by.

By the time we were done, I was reeling with exhaustion. I was gratified to see that Kevin (half my age) was tired as well. I would have liked to have a roll with Kev- but it was a challenge to keep my LOC up enough to safely complete the drive home, so I’m glad I didn’t try to push it further.

Knees ache from all the up-down and from dropping onto the right knee a million times.

I love getting my tail kicked by Chrisanne.

bjj105

At (long) range, you are taking fire. You may not know from where in that first instant. Hit or not, you have to MOVE. You were ambushed in this precise spot because it is the best place to kill you. You MUST get out of that spot (or “Off the X” as we say). –Rory Miller

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. I was standing on the wall minding my own damn business waiting for class to start, and Casey comes over and grabs me and tries to hurl me to the ground. We end up thrashing around like a couple of weasels while the entire rest of the class stands there in line and watches, making comments about the “mutter…mutter… purple belts….”

Standing: ankle pick as yesterday. I’m noticing that with your lapel grip, you can shove the opponent to either side to finish the takedown. Pushing often works better (and is less work) than pulling.

Bullfight pass to KOB

Failed bullfight pass to underhook both of hir thighs, stack, and pass. I don’t try to set this up often- I feel vulnerable sticking both arms under like that- but I love the way the pass itself feels; I like to grab the tag of the opponent’s pants and stack the crapola out of hir and then squish down on top of hir thigh until s/he’s begging to let me pass. At the same time, you can grind into the throat and/or twist the head away by levering on the jaw with the other forearm. It’s lovely.

Positional sparring from spider guard, varying goals. My suckage at passing spider guard is trumped only by my suckage at trying to sweep from spider guard. But I can hang out *IN* spider guard effortlessly defending the pass until the second coming of Christ.

Some epic sparring with Chrisanne. We started from standing multiple times. She got a couple of really sweet takedowns, and some lovely technical taps. Nice and tight. She is almost never on the bottom any more, and she is always attacking instead of waiting to react to what I do. When we scramble, she gets on top first. Her game has changed 180 from eight months ago. I love it when Chrisanne is kicking my tail. It makes me feel so proud. I am getting to the point of going close to full bore on her, too.

Del a Riva and reverse Del a Riva

bjj432

It’s easy to say, reading this in a safe and cozy environment, what you would do. But that’s only what you THINK you would do. It’s like yelling at the TV screen at the quarterback what he should have done on the last play. You didn’t see what he saw, feel the pressure he felt. You’re simply judging it from a technical standpoint, minus the impact of how emotion affects judgment and performance. You can’t know what it feels like until you’ve lived it. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Thursday lunchtime in Bellevue.

Ankle pick. We were picking the opposite ankle, which was a little odd, and made me have to concentrate really really hard to remember which knee to drop onto. Note that an ankle pick means pick the ANKLE- not the shin, not the knee. Also note that you can’t just pick it up without knowing (in advance- don’t try to wing it) where you are going to take it and how you are going to avoid fouling up your own legs. Once you have all of THAT straightened out, you can start worrying about yanking the lapel to tip hir.

Standing pass of del a Riva guard. Jerk violently upright to dislodge the foot, shove your pantleg holds to the floor (DON’T LET GO OF THE PANTS), pass to the side and take KOB. Carlos continues to remind me that in the end, every technique is ideally ONE step. I get wrapped up in cataloging and counting out my steps. In particular, I tend to execute standing passes with several shuffling steps to the side (which Carlos sometimes mimes me doing; it looks hilarious with his telephone-pole-length legs). Just step once and drop.

Standing pass of an inside del a Riva guard. I am unfamiliar with inside del a Riva, so that was interesting just trying to get into the drill position. Kind of the same technique, only we ended in side control instead of KOB.

Many drills of these, then positional sparring from these positions (varying goals… sometimes pass vs resist, sometimes sweep vs resist, sometimes pass vs sweep, sometimes free-for-all).

At the end, he did one of my LEAST favorite things…. more drills and positional sparring interspersed with cardio (pushups, sprawls, burpees (which Chrisanne always calls “barfees”)). Chrisanne was tired as hell but kept fighting gamely through the positional sparring with a little encouragement.

One roll with Jason. He crucifixed me, which was impressive. He is one of the few people who makes it really difficult for me to pass top half guard… he stretches my leg out in lockdown. He also keeps putting his arm up by his head. I trapped him in a head-and-arm a few times, but was having a bitch of a time trying to free my leg enough to finish it (he kept doing lockdown and pulling me down just far enough that I couldn’t get quite high enough to finish the choke).