Never do that…. oh wait, except for this instance


Awareness, by itself, is not enough to help you avoid a criminal threat. In fact, criminals usually expect their victims to feel afraid, and some criminals feed on that feeling. Really nasty criminals encourage a victim’s fear and even work hard to increase it. A person who feels alarm but is not prepared to act is an ideal victim for such a criminal, because that person fits neatly into the script the criminal expects to play out when he attacks.

Be smart: be prepared *and* aware! -Kathy Jackson



Thurs eve BJJ in Kirkland.

Side control escapes involving a elbow-to-wrist brace across opponent’s collarbone and a body turn AWAY from hir. I have such trouble with that. This is one of the techniques that the white belts actually pick up FASTER because they don’t have years of “NEVER TURN AWAY FROM THE OPPONENT!!!” to try to break out of.

One of these techniques was designed to take advantage of the moment that the opponent slips hir arm from the near side of your head to the far side in preparation to keylock you. I need to try to remember to experiment with that live.

A little rolling with a few white and early-blue belts. I was able to handle everybody fairly well. I know that Bellevue- which is rife with people better than myself- is the best possible place to learn, but it sure helps the self-confidence to go to Kirkland and just tool up on four or five people in a row to remind yourself that you can actually do some jiu jitsu.

Friday evening women’s class in Bellevue. Roundhouse kick to your hip, you step with the arc, then overwrap the ankle and press the knee out to take down. Step in to brace the leg, then ankle lock.

…..aaaaaaaaaaand more side control escapes, this time the one I have always hated: the one where you snake under the armpit and then roll to your belly, to turtle, to sit-out. I have always struggled with the mechanics of this (although I am very flexible, several bits of this sequence exploit the few ways in which I am *NOT*) as well as the terror or getting 1)smashed back down, probably with my elbow breaking in the process… neck feels distressingly vulnerable as well here….. or 2)getting pinned on my belly…. I do not like being flat on my belly underneath my (usually heavier and stronger) opponent. I was like, “Oh God, *this* shit again…..” but tonight was the first night where I actually felt like I might be starting to grok this one. It helped a lot to have done those bracing side control escapes the night before. Something just clicked after having worked this series of moves in sequence. I’m still not very jazzed about the idea of trying this live, but it makes a little more sense now.

The problem with this women’s class is that I am too tired to do the following class (which I miss), and there is almost never any live rolling (so far). I was feeling very hungry for some live rolling, even though I was pretty tired and not thrilled with the idea of drilling *or* rolling with fresh men. I really wanted to roll with Chrisanne, but she was tired. Still, she was waffling a bit, which made me keep my gi on and sit on the sidelines with her hoping she would get a second wind. The class was all sparring (damn!), and Carlos was not at all pleased with the concept of me and Chrisanne sitting out part of the class and then coming in JUST to roll with each other. He was like, “You’re welcome to come in, but if you do, you are staying on the mat for the whole class.” Finally I gave up on Chrisanne and went back in. Had a couple of good rolls, although I got fairly dominated. Kevin is amazing. I haven’t worked with him in a long time, and it blew my mind at how flexible, technical, and stellar he has become. I remember working with him when he was a white belt, and it is very inspiring to see how far he has come.

Your most important part


At an advanced level, a mature practitioner should begin to “look outside of the box” of his or her base style. At an advanced level, studying outside your base allows one to better perceive recurring patterns in human attack; that there are only certain ways that a particular joint or limb can move without injury; or that certain techniques are designed to produce or capitalize on a particular physiological reaction common to the species. It is therefore understood that ultimately, there may be a “correct” method to execute technique X within system Y, but ultimately, another system utilizes a nearly identical body mechanic in a related and equally effective manner to counter the same recurring human self-protection problem. The only “correct” method, therefore, becomes the effective application of that body mechanic in neutralizing or escaping a threat, and the study of individual style (judo, jujitsu, karate, aikido, and so on) comes to be seen as simply an individual on-ramp to what amounts in the end to a much larger road. –Michael Thue

Attempting to channel anger into one’s MA is inefficient, dangerous (to both parties) and potentially ego-wrecking (in a negative way; positive ego-wrecking being an actual valid thing in MA). Good to remember when a buddy impales me in the self esteem the day before a comp. Guy is a decent person and good friend, but possibly the most insecure person I have ever met in my life (worse than me, ha ha!). It is incredibly threatening to his masculinity to think that I might be able to beat him up if it came down to it. The fact that I have trained multiple MA’s for twenty years while his ass has been parked on the couch is irrelevant. I am not invested in needing HIM to know I could beat him up- it costs me little to throw him that bone, and I have (although, it must be admitted, with increasing levels of sarcasm as the years go by). Yet I have tried many times to explain to this friend that I don’t want to hear about it repeatedly. Regardless of the truth or untruth of the statement, it is disrespectful and just plain shitty of him to keep saying this to me when he knows what a big part of me is invested in MA. It is invalidating. And yes, I freely admit that my own self-esteem is crappy, and I am not in a position to shrug off his statements without being hurt, pissed, and unbelieveably frustrated. And thinking it may be true.

Anyway, he hit me with this again today, and it has raised angsty feels that I did not need the day before a tournament. I informed him that he has reached the bitter end of my tolerance tether on that score, and if he ever says that to me again, we are through. Needed to be done. But I am left feeling even more disheartened and conflicted than usual on tournament eve.

Was reflecting that defeatism/confidence/self esteem are by far the hairiest challenge for me in my MA journey. Making one wonder- if you’re into all that esoteric crap- if that’s what it all about, if that’s what it’s all FOR, for me. A higher power or my subconscious or whatever trying to use MA to heal my esteem. It occurrs to me that it may be necessary to actually try my hardest and fail, and cope with that. Actually trying my hardest and failing anyway is such a terrifying prospect that I can’t even wrap my brain around it. But I’m not sure where else to go from here, as I am making little if any progress on my defeatism. It may be that the only way through it is- THROUGH it. Straight through.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Drill- pushups and sprawl to backtake. After we did all the reps, Chrisanne collapsed on the mat to wait for the rest oft he pairs to finish. I said, “Oh no. Get up. We’re starting over.”

Sparring. I tooled a white belt, got tooled by a blue belt, played defense with another white belt who had already been too rough with Chrisanne, so I knew I had to wach it with him. Had Chrisanne (at my request) get me in bottom side control and front mount and just hold me down. She did it very well. I couldn’t get out. She also has excellently painful Shoulder Of Justice.


Carlos, after matching up everyone in the class except me: “Come here Keetsune, we gonna talk about smashing. (wicked grin)”

Kitsune: “Oh boy. Okay, as long as all we’re going to do is TALK.”

Carlos (more wicked grinning)

Chrisanne: “When she asks to be smashed by *ME*, that’s a different thing than getting smashed by *YOU*.”

So he did to me the same thing that Chrisanne did, and if I couldn’t escape *HER*, you can guess how well I did against him. He advises more hipping up, observing that I am underutilizing my “most important part”.

After we did that for a while, he started latching onto subs and then reprimanding me for passing his guard instead of dealing with the sub attempt first. That is another item for the file of “Sloppy shit that works on lower belts but not on purples and up…. so it’s time to stop doing it.” Usually I can pass guard and *then* get out of the sub attempt, which has been weakened by the now-suboptimal positioning. The purple belts and up, though, will often set traps that cause you to sub your own self when you move.

Carlos, re: the comp: “We all gonna be there- me, Professor Hodrigo, Professor Lindsey….”

Kitsune: “Wonderful.” (gahhhhhhhh!!)

More side control escapes


Just like animals attack when they perceive fear and weakness, people can unconsciously feel a person’s power and will probably avoid conflict with those who are animated by deep self-confidence. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday lunchtime BJJ in Kirkland.

Pummelling with rotating partners. This is always exhausting, and I was feeling limp before the warmup was done. The comp is next weekend and I’m feeling anxious about making weight. I don’t think I ate enough this morning to get through a BJJ class.

Side control escapes.

Underhook, roll, shrug, and go to side/back before the opponent gets fully settled. My weak point continues to be the shrug, although I am getting faster with the roll (at least till I start getting gassed).

Same thing as training partner moves from your closed guard and tries to pass to side control.

Opponent in top scarf- push face away, swing legs out, hook leg over opponent’s face and push down/sit up. Cindy likes to have us do this back and forth as a continual drill. (Again- exhausting)

Same thing as training partner moves from your closed guard and tries to pass to scarf.

A little positional sparring from 1)locked on side control, and 2)about-to-lock-onto-side-control.

A spar with Dave, one with Cindy, one with a white belt champion Tai Kwon Do guy. Too tired to take on Lamont.

Chrisanne! And Will!


If you are attacked, every second of hesitation is a second of damage. The longer the hesitation lasts, the more damage you take- the less able you become to do anything effective when and if you do act. –Rory Miller

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. Chrisanne!!! 🙂 There were actually *FOUR* women on the mat. Wow.

I attacked Chrisanne and rolled a little with her to warm up.

I didn’t like the grin on Carlos’ face. Sure enough, he was in a really drilly mood.

100 takedown setups. Fast. Then guard passing- eight or ten different guard passes, twenty times each, fast.

Three five-minute spars. Chrisanne, Justin, Alex (the blue belt one, not the humongo almost-brown-belt one).


Evening BJJ in Kirkland. Will!!! I love working with Will.

Side control
. Basic replacement of closed guard.

Side control, top opponent is blocking your hip. Shrimp out, brace matward shin against opponent’s arm. Kick your other foot over hir head. Control the arm. (You may be able to armbar from here.) Square up, foot on hip. Other foot on bicep. (You may be able to triangle from here). This was kind of a complicated sequence… but as always, Will is a sublime partner, and we were able to kick out a bazillion reps, and I even found an omoplata opening.

Dave was a little too enthusiastic with his demo, and almost popped my elbow (the left, of course- the elbow and the shoulder on that side have been intermittantly troublesome for a long time). I managed to bite my tongue on the yelp. I am still finding it very restimulating when I get passed over for more junior students as demo dummy, so it makes me really reluctant to be a baby when I am in the role.

One five-minute spar with Dave. I was pretty tired (and a little headachy) by then, but he seemed impressed with my work- and did not appear to be handing me a bunch of stuff.

An hour of Lindsey


Systems talk about chi, intent, fa-jing, or some other “magical” effect, and the desperate seeker (who if he had just picked something, stuck with it, and put in the required hours of focused practice would be a master) runs from one to another, looking for the magic key to power. He never finds it because he never stays long enough to realize that the secret doesn’t really exist. -Campfire Tales From Hell


Lunchtime BJJ at Bellevue.

Winter training is in one sense worse than summer training…. Carlos comes in in the morning and turns the heater on full blast, and you can feel it roaring and baking on you as you do the “warm-ups”, and halfway through the first round of whatever you’re drilling, you’re ready to sell your soul to anyone who will turn that fucking heater off. I have learned to not grouse about it, though…. if you bitch, Carlos leaves it on even longer.

More side control today.

You are under side control. Place the knee nearest the opponent’s feet against hir ribs (You must remember to do this FIRST). Frame, push, stick that knee in there. Bring your other leg over opponent’s head and armbar.

Positional sparring from side control. Person on top is supposed to skate around, side to side, N/S. I was feeling very low-energy… in part because I was being cooked to death. I was spectacularly inept on the bottom. Some of the guys are very good at catching arms, and I was getting caught with arms over my head and crossed over my chest- moreso as I got more tired and frustrated. I get sloppy when I get frustrated. I did a little better on top.

No-gi open mat. I spent a full hour rolling with Lindsey. I very much enjoy rolling with Lindsey. She is also a really valuable person for me to train with leading up to the tourney. She is at 138 right now (although she feels so light!), and is very cool about my doing just a TEENY bit of shoulder pressure and crossfacing, etc. She did catch me in a couple of bad positions twice, although none three times.

“This is how people, like, take down LIVESTOCK.”


I differentiate strangles (cutting off blood to the brain) from chokes (cutting off air). Both have similar effects, but chokes take longer and are more likely to trigger a panic response. These are the only techniques that work on everyone despite insanity, drugs or rage. –Rory Miller

Thurs: 128
Fri: 130
Sat: 128
Sun: 130
Mon: 128
Tues: 130

Come on…. is this supposed to be funny? I’m not finding this very funny.

I registered for the Revolution. 1 weight class up from my ideal in no-gi. I just don’t feel like spending the next two weeks starving myself.

Weds: 130

I dreamed about competing. At least, the lead-up to competing. I had that same acid feeling in my gut that I get when I’m waiting to go on the tourney mat. Does this count as time served toward my goal of learning to cope with the adrenaline dump?

Weds lunchtime BJJ in Kirkland. Escapes from side control.

Bree was here. I barely recognized her. She looks great. She’s lost quite a bit of weight. It was very nice to work with her again.

Frame up, push, shrimp, get LOWER knee in, use feet to push opponent’s knees as necessary, replace full guard.

Then: frame up, push, keep upper elbow planted while you windshield-wiper forearm to opponent’s armpit. Jerk that elbow up- and shrug- at the same time you jerk downward elbow down. Turn belly-down and either take the back or deal with the turtle.

Next: same entry, only when you get to the side of your turtled opponent, turn 90 degrees to hir. Reach under hir and grab the knee. Pull knee while driving into opponent (use head and straight arm “punchthrough”) to take top side control.

Then: same entry, only opponent grabs whizzer as you escape side control. Now you must hook hir near shin and pull it outward as you move your body behind opponent and between hir feet. Whip the arm free with a powerful circular slinging motion. Note that you must be careful to get BOTH of your knees behind the opponent- if you straddle hir shin, s/he can roll and kneebar you.

Drills with the “punchthrough” technique… Cindy likes this drill because when you get done doing the technique, you are already in position for your partner to do the technique. Then: positional sparring from side control.

I went straight home after that without rolling, showered and immediately set to work making cat food. That took me all freakin’ day and I was late to evening class.

From under side control: Frame, push, shrimp, bring top leg over opponent’s head and set it on hir shoulder. As opponent tries to figure out WTF you’re setting up, you pop the leg back over the head and triangle. This was weird, but I liked the sneakiness of it.

“Punchthrough” technique again, and drills of same again. Switch partners and repeat.

Positional sparring from side control. God do I ever hate being under side control. I flail uselessly, I get pancaked, I waste a lot of energy, I get really frustrated. The only things that seem to meet with a small amount of success are 1)Black Crane elbow down to my own hip on the floor, turn on belly, let them back mount me. That sucks, but frankly I’d rather fight off being back mounted than fight off bottom side control. 2) wait till they try to change position or sub me, and attempt an escape while they are doing so. #2 is not going to fly on Cindy’s mat because she harries me if I just lie there.

I gave Mike my KOB lesson, and also talked him through defending a bunch of chokes and other things I was throwing at him in rapid succession. Note that he is having a lot of trouble with breating. He is either doing the huff-and-puff or holding his breath altogether- not sure which- and then having to pause the roll and gasp on hands and knees. From now on, will make a point of continually reminding him to breathe during the roll.

A roll with Cindy. We took our gi tops off. She was squashing my face with her forearm, pretending to kneedrop on my belly, she tickle-pinched me once in the side and made me shriek, then insisted that it never happened. I kept arguing that this and that thing she was doing to me was illegal, and she argued that they was not. The whole time, she giggled. “I know what you’re doing,” I gasped out. “You ‘re trying to make me hate you enough to get rougher. I’m not going to be manipulated like that.” I got smeared, but the plus side was that I was moving continually at a high rate of speed… you have no choice when someone is constantly bouncing all over you grinding on your face and doing all sorts of other painful crap to you.

Next- because there’s never enough pain to be had- we did some standup involving one meathook and one head- get to the side of the person and drive your head into the opponent (just above the eyebrow into opponent’s jaw hinge or into the flat spot distal from the eye) and push hir around like that or use it to set up a takedown. Then, both hands behind our own backs and fighting just with the pushy heads. Depending on position, one head is totally in control of the whole scene. Note that I need to pay attention to my neck position, posure, shoulder position, etc or else I am not well set-up to try this. But it is very effective, and holy Christ does it ever hurt. Both Dave and I were tapping like crazy almost as soon as she got position and started pushing- never mind any takedowns. Very quickly I was reduced to geniuine PLEADING: “Oh Jesus, no, please don’t demo that on me again, please….”

Then we did a supremely evil takedown. I mean, this is just sadistic. As a defense-oriented martial artist, I would love to have this in my toolbox…. but I don’t think I am going to be able to bring myself to do it on some poor girl in a comp, much less one of my buddies. This is the kind of thing you’d do to someone evil who deserves pain. Like…hmm….yeah….. maybe someone who would screw a semiconscious teammate and then leave her lying alone on the concrete in a parking lot in the middle of a winter night. Yeah, that’s the type of person I’d be able to practice this on. Repeatedly. Gleefully. With full commitment.

“Meathook” behind the neck with the left hand. I tend to want to try to hang weight off that hook, but Cindy notes that the elbow is supposed to be planted against the chest so that you’re pulling with the hook and pushing with the elbow at the same time. Right hand behind-the-bicep grip.

Now: choke up on that meathook side abruptly, pulling your armpit right to the neck. Clamp.

The first time Cindy did this to me, she simultaneously pulled her bicep grip so that my arm was clasped across her belly with my palm TOWARD her- yes, this twisted my spine and put my shoulder blade toward the ground and made it impossible to defend wherever she chose to put me. I really liked that aspect- but when it was my turn, she said that I was getting too fixated on that arm and that I didn’t actually even NEED the arm at all- she had me let go of the arm and gable grip my hands together.

Now, take the foot on the SAME SIDE as your armpit clamp, kick it through hard and let yourself drop to the mat on your ass. Yeah.

You know, there is really no way to describe this so that you can appreciate the true level of terror and torment. I mean, you could twist someone’s head off and watch it shoot across the room. That certainly is what it feels like when it is done to you. At the same time that your head is being twisted and popped off like a grape off the stem, your attention wars between that and the fact that your spine is contorting as you are being borne inexorably toward the floor. Backwards. Hitting the floor (backwards, with your opponent’s full weight on you) is the LEAST of your worries at this juncture. It becomes immediately apparent that if you fail to spin your own body and throw YOURSELF onto your back with lightning speed, your spine is going to crack. Oh, and while you’re doing that, try to get your neck aligned because your head is about to pop off. Hurry. You have about two seconds to parse this and then figure out how to physically make it happen. If you survive the takedown and find that you are not a quadriplegic, congratulations- now enjoy trying to get your breath back and get out of bottom scarf… unless you just want to tap right now and give your opponent the win before she kills you, since she’s obviously a fucking homicidal maniac. (I love you, Cindy!)

Kaungren (watching in horrified fascination): “This is how people, like, take down LIVESTOCK.”

Cindy then did it to me again, and Mike dashed in to mime branding me on the ass.

Deep half guard dilemma


Writing is a job. It is not waiting for some mysterious force to smack you upside the head with inspiration. It is a job and you do a job by working. Sit down. Write words. That simple. Writer’s block isn’t what is going on. What’s going on is an overwhelming mass of projects. It’s like a huge pile of dirty dishes in the sink. You want to believe that if you just don’t look at them, they will magically go away. But that’s not how life works. You do the dishes. One at a time. Until you are done. _Rory Miller

Sat: 129
Sun: 130 ankle weights
Mon: 130 ankle weights
Tues: 130 ankle weights
Wed: 129.5

Nurse in break room (with quizzical expression): Do you work all shifts??
Kitsune: Seems like I’m *always* here, huh?
Nurse: Uh, yeah.

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ at Kirkland.

Foe bearhugs you from the back. You grab hir hands, lower base a titch, and swing left foot behind foe’s feet. Now kneel on rt knee and roll, rt shoulder first. Keep that grip, so that opponent is carried helplessly over your shoulder. S/he hits the mat and you roll over top of hir. You land belly up. Your shoulder blade remains glued to opponent’s chest. Keep pressure on. “T” up, then turn into top side control.

Note that if I ever have to drill this with someone heavy, to ask them to take it easy when I am the uke. Even with Cindy (130lb), I had to make really sure to let go before we entered the roll so that I could frame my elbows to protect my ribs. Even so, it hurt. This would be a perfect way for me to pop a rib out again.

Next: escapes from bottom side control. Frame up, push up a titch to get a little room, hip out, KEEP ELBOW PLANTED but windshield-wiper the forearm to underhook. Heist to knees. From here, depending on where you end up, you can take the back (your arm is high on foe’s back), single or double-leg (Head pops up, place sole on floor on same side, posture up, push and lift), or pull out opponent’s near leg and get behind it. Note that if you do this last, you MUST either 1)get BOTH legs back there, or 2)use your foot to pin opponent’s foot down. Otherwise you will find yourself being summersaulted and kneebarred. Note also to not lose track of that arm. I was focusing on the lower body action so much that I left my arm hanging straight out there, and Cindy elbow-locked me.

After class, I asked for help with the persistant problem of being sucked into deep half guard and swept.

Rule 1: do not resign yourself to the sweep and fall back on your ass (my habit). Stay on top. You may be able to simply sprawl heavy out of it. Otherwise, stay on top and try to wrap arm around opponent’s head. Bring knee/thigh up to support, and try to get nestled in there with opponent’s head resting on your inner thigh. Now grab hir far leg and try to squeeze hir into a Tiny Package (TM). It’s all about controlling the head. I immediately assumed that any big guy was just going to muscularly straighten out of this…. but if the head is kinked to the side and pinned in place, it 1)is very distracting (owwwww) and 2)makes it impossible to move the rest of the body much. There are more options from here, but the one I liked was to *let* the guy straighten out…. you go with it and grab a kneebar.

Note that I need to work these some more the next time I get to work with Cindy.