Use it or lose it.


Recognize when you have time. People get hurt when they try to plan without time, and unnecessarily hurt others when they have time to plan and don’t use it. –Rory Miller

The Stripe Fairy is loose again at GB. John (who got his purple belt on the same day that I did) is now up to 4 stripes, and I am still at 1. After a momentary knee-jerk surge of competitive frustration, I remember that I do not WANT to get promoted. Must remember to duck into bathroom during bow-out for the next week or so.


So I ducked into the locker room and took off my jacket when it was time for bow-out, and darn if Carlos didn’t come chasing into the lobby and tell me to get back in there, and the entire class waited for me. 😦 It sucks to be the only woman in the room. It makes you way too memorable and makes it more difficult to sneak away when you want to. So that tactic is not going to work.

You have butterfly guard, opponent lying on your chest. Do a little hip bump to get your horiz. forearm across hir clavicles and push hir up (you can get kind of mean with this….). Sit up, scoot back a titch and place the outside of your knee on the mat on the side that you are NOT bracing your opponent’s chest.

Swim that arm under hir arm (remember to keep that elbow posted hard to keep hir from coming in on you) and grab the belt at hir tailbone. (This turned out to be the bugaboo detail for me…. I don’t like to grab the belt. It moves around too much, and sometimes it isn’t there at all (like in no-gi).) with your other arm, grab hir bicep and hug it to you. The more you can get hir shoulder twisted around, the better (tiny but critical detail). Sweep.

If s/he puts a foot up to catch hirself, you can underhook that knee, HOOK HIR OTHER ANKLE WITH YOUR TOE and sweep hir the other way. This was hella cool, but one of those things that my subconscious was resisting because it doesn’t seem like it should work. Important detail: try to keep that leg-underhook as you roll, because it leaves you in a much better position at the end… otherwise you often get caught in half or full guard. It also puts more weight on opponent’s chest and gives a better angle for a little Shoulder Of Justice.

One spar with Chrisanne, one with a blue belt who got two straight ankle locks on me. I had started to put myself right into the second one, like a total moron, and then checked myself and tried to go into DLR instead. He neatly hooked up my foot and did it to me again. Dammit. Then one spar with a tall skinny white belt guy I have never seen before. I got a gi choke tap on him- otherwise held him at bay with spider guard.

I was feeling distinctly torpid by the time I arrived at evening class in Kirkland, but arrive I did. Some white belt guy was there who immediately remembered me from one class LAST WINTER and was a little put out that I didn’t remember him. (again with the “only woman” thing…. do you have any idea how many white belt guys I see come and go? About a bazillion prillion quagfillion. No, I can’t remember, I’m sorry.)

Upa. I stuggled with the upa, which was embarrassing… but I do not EVER use this. I always go to half or butterfly. I don’t like sticking my arm out like that, and it takes too much time for me to remember which leg to trap and how to do it. Which says that I need to practice it more. It also seems like way too much effort to do that big ribcage-straining bridge. And it feels like it is never going to work. Again… I obviously need to drill it more.

Fortunately, we next did the combover escape from front mount to half guard… which is my go-to if they actually manage to get full mount, and I can make it work on almost everybody (even the higher belts). Which tells me that I need to quit doing it all the time and work on the upa instead.

Escape from headlock. Dave reccomends an under-over braiding of your arm after you trap the guy’s arm behind him, as this gives you more control for either a shoulder lock or choke as you choose- I generally avoid getting entangled to that extent with an opponent, but it’s difficult for him to muscle out of this because of the crappy angle.

We replaced closed guard from there…. I usually try to squirt out the back.

One spar with Edwin.



When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.

Robert has passed away. I am very unhappy. I knew that he had cancer, but I had no idea that the end was so imminent. Robert was so strong and vigorous, and worked like a dog, I just assumed that he would be one of those people who goes, “F You, cancer!” and thirty years later he’s still on the mat. But it was quick.

He was liked and respected by all. He was the humblest guy on the mat, even though he was a high-level black belt in another art. He came in here in his 60’s, put on a white belt, and busted his ass till he got to purple. I wrote on his FB that he is an inspiration to live up to. I hope that when I am his age, I am still kicking ass as hard as he was kicking it.

Interesting pre-class weapons discussion with (big, blue-belt) John. He had a Japanese weapon that looked like a forearm-long metal spike, with one curving piece at the hilt. We were discussing the practical merits of adding this and other weapon options during grappling. I can think of all sorts of juicy things to do with a short stick while grappling.

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. All spars. Chrisanne was a rock star today. Aggressive, technical, attending to every small detail. Best of all, I rolled with her first and last, and her last roll (when she was really tired) was almost as awesome as her first.

Suranjen is still letting me tap him multiple times. I don’t know why he has been rolling like this with me. I don’t know how to ask.

Evening BJJ in Kirkland. Dave likes to exhaust the spazzy white belts before teaching technique. He does this by making the class run laps, then do alternating drills of pummelling and side control-scarf-mount flow drills till we are all reeling and dripping.

Basic closed guard break, knee up, slide through. Lots of attention to many small details.

Then, once you have the guard broken and knee up, disengage and then come back in for a bullfight pass.

One spar with Dave and one with Leone.

James’ juicy neck


Chi, outlaw Taoist wanted in vain by the inquisition of Western science; the breath of a God forgotten in a mortal body; nightmare of the laws of physics; Zen warrior of our will; fuel in the engine of the universe. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

I almost didn’t go in tonight because of the twisted ankle, but I wanted to work it some…. I knew I just needed to not do anything stupid. I wore the brace and stayed strictly on the ground. It was an open mat, which is probably a good thing.

I rolled a bit with Casey (no jackets) and then for a long time with James (also no jackets). I seemed to be doing fairly okay with James, even though he’s big and muscular and technical. Very shortly I found myself zeroing in with razor hyperfocus on his succulent neck. Guillotines, head-and-arm chokes, RNC, baseball bat. I was also using head control a lot- pushing his head to the mat, hanging on the back on his neck.

He pointed out that sometimes when I slap a guillotine on, I don’t fully commit to jumping closed guard. It’s true. Reason A) I play almost no closed guard… but at a tournament, it may be reasonable to expect that I might be fighting people that I can actually get my guard closed around. There’s a shocking notion. Reason B) If I’m not positive that the guillotine is on really well, I don’t want to jump guard because I know that if it fails, I’m on the bottom- and I suck on the bottom, so I do **NOT** want to be on the bottom. But I need to be mindful of this tendency in myself, and make up my damn mind if I’m going to jump guard or not- and if I am, to do it wholeheartedly.

I had really been hoping to get in more rolling time with women this week… but I think that long session with James was really valuable. He was being really nice and helpful even though I was grinding terribly all over his neck. I’ll have to thank him personally if I win anything tomorrow.