“If I shrimp, my uterus will fall out”



Fear of legitimate danger is a good thing. It is your ally. It’s your inspiration. Your muse, if you will. Strength increases, reflexes are faster, pain sensitivity drops and you can run faster. In these circumstances, adrenaline becomes the get-it-done drug. –Marc MacYoung



Thursday and Friday BJJ,

Thursday and Friday and Saturday BJJ,

and Friday BJJ (Thursday I was tired and lazy and did nothing).

One of the Thursdays was at Kirkland. Remember when I said it was nice to go there once in a while and tool up on their white and blue belts? That was Hammer Day, and this was Nail day! All those same people tooled on me… including a female white belt who tapped me twice right away. Then I thought, “Hmm, I’m going to have to take this one seriously,” and then she tapped me again!  She was very tight, and shrink-wrapped everything up methodically the way Luis does, leaving *no* room to do anything. My happiness at seeing skilled women coming up in our school far outweighs my momentary peevishness at getting tapped.

Note that Carlos does not want to hear me say that I got pwn’ed. He made his usual “I no see you” comment the week I spent Thurs at Kirkland. I like that he misses me, but I was a little hesitant to tell him I’d been at Kirkland because I wasn’t sure if that would be weird. He seemed (outwardly) okay that I’d gone elsewhere that day, but gave me a serious talk about the way I refer to getting my butt kicked. Much of this monologue was sort of lost in translation (and also he was following me down the mat while I was doing shrimp drills during it), but I think the gist was that he doesn’t want me to get too hung up on being smashed- or doesn’t want me to talk too much about it- which I guess is related. And both good advice.

The Saturday was at Seattle. Seth showed me a cool sweep. I want him to drill that with me every time I see him.

The other Thursday was the first day at the womens’ class that I was not allowed to work with Chrisanne. I found myself with a teenager who looked like I could sneeze and blow her though the plate glass lobby window. I thought Carlos would switch up the pairings when he saw us (I’m too dangerous to work with Chrisanne, and he’s going to let me work with this little wisp of a thing?) but he didn’t. (I didn’t injure her, BTW…. and she is really good at single-legs)

That most recent Friday, I finally succeeded in talking Lindsay back onto the mat. She said that her body still didn’t feel quite like her own, and that she was afraid that when she shrimped, her “uterus would fall out”. I am not sure what that means, yet I found it was a rather disquieting prospect- but I just told her that I was happy to see her back, and we could deal with whatever limitations presented themselves. I think she ended up tapping me more than I tapped her, so it was good. She seemed really happy to be rolling again. Going to try to get her in again this coming Thurs.

Chrisanne got a stripe! PSG is coming up and I will likely have only one BJJ class this week (if that), so I ought to be able to escape promotions yet again (muah ha ha ha). Mini posted a promotion/ranking rant on her training blog this week- glad to see I am not the only one who feels this way.

One of the techniques we worked on was a sweep from guard in which I struggled, in a way that really pointed up several persistent failings of mine which show up across multiple techniques; I fail to break down the opponent’s posture and/or control hir arms adequately, I try to sweep to the side instead of tipping hir head toward my shoulder, and I fail to be forceful enough with the sweeping thigh (I have it stuck in my head that this is a strength move- which of course will never work- I need to fix the technicality and then COMMIT).  Once again, a thing that will have all sorts of sweeping improvement-type effects as soon as I can cement it.

Another interesting technique: choke from top side control. Inspired by Pat, I sometimes pull out someone’s gi tail and pass it behind hir head when I have top half guard, as I know there are several intriguing things to do from there…. but I can never remember anything to finish it with. Carlos showed us how to pass the gi tail back to your far hand after passing it under the neck, then yank the person in toward your knee and cross-collar choke hir. If s/he puts out a hand to try to block your second grip, you grab the wrist and yank the arm forward, then lay your chest on hir shoulder and s/he chokes herself with hir own bicep. I had Lindsay coughing several times on this one. I like it.

I asked a few trusted people to try to put me on the bottom and to let me have a legit sweep if I made a halfway reasonable attempt at one, but to *NOT* let me escape. This was totally frustrating, which tells me I am on the right path. I am going to need to keep doing it.

I tried to get my new favorite choke from bottom half guard on a few people, but did not succeed. Being banned from working with Chrisanne flummoxed my plan to drill that with her at every class. I need to find a new drill dummy.

Finding myself questioning my performance aloud too much- ie, asking my partner “is that right?” even when I have no reason to think it’s not right. Obviously I *DO* need to ask this when I think I have a problem. But it feels like I am often saying it just because I am being too self-critical. I also find myself saying it as a social lubricant (ie, “Even though I outrank you and we don’t know each other well, I’m humble and we’re peers, go ahead and correct me (which- again- has its place, but should not be overused))”. It backfired badly on me that week, as I found myself working with a no-stripe purple woman that I’ve never seen before, who was messing up worse than I was but still became more and more didactic (including several blatantly WRONG instructions) over the two days we worked together.

Holding at a reasonable walking-around weight of 133, although I would like to drop another few. The local wild salmonberries are dying, but the thimbleberries are in their prime and the blackberries are starting to appear. The slugs are actually leaving a few of my strawberries for ME this year. Thus whenever I go out to walk the dogs, I have a fruit snack. I’ve been doing really well on meal portions (I’m still working on the freezer full of half a dozen different meals that I cooked, divvied up and froze several weeks ago), but junk food at work (left by colleagues) continues to be a major pitfall. Tonight there was an unfortunate Doritos incident… thanks a lot, evening shift. Please take your bad food with you when you clock out.

I bought a whole bunch of tuna packets to use as meals at PSG. I’m going to let myself eat at the food vendors’ stands a bit, but that is problematic for portion control when I have no fridge or microwave. The tuna packets I bought have condiments in them (I tried the plain- as well as the plain chicken- and just couldn’t get jazzed about eating that all week long), but they are portion controlled in 120-cal and 100-cal envelopes. And no cooking, no cleanup, portable, with low perishability. (The tuna packets unfortunately are not going to be a very good option for regular life due to their unreasonable prices.) I also got almonds, granola (caloric, but not as bad as candy/crackers/cookies/doughnuts/breakfast cereal/other poor options), and will get some fruit and Slim Fasts before getting onsite.  I’m looking at myself in the mirror morning and night and wondering how much of the abdominal bloating I’m seeing is my bad soda habit. I should go cold turkey one day and see if there is a visible difference. But that would involve going cold turkey all day.  😦

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.


Carlos let me touch his katana.


It’s all about the visualization. -Savage Kitsune

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. Same setup as that wacky sweep that Chrisanne and I worked on all last week, only this time instead of sweeping hir backward, you sweep hir forward. This means that after you swing your leg to the outside and place it on the Bad Guy’s hip, you place the other one on hir knee and stretch hir out. Pull hir arm across hir own centerline ( remember well from various other techniques that this makes it HUGELY difficult to defend the sweep). Note that you still have to remember to underhook the ankle, which once again was the step I left out as soon as I tried to speed up.

One short spar with John. I was happily surprised to find myself on top the whole time. John has become a fearsome opponent, and it’s very challenging to not be completely dominated every time.

Thursday evening I hiked…. as I wanted to see the Cirque Du Soleil, and avoiding the $15 parking fee meant a pre- and post- performance hike. Which was fine, although I had to circumambulate half of Marymoor Park on the way in. I kept running into dead end streets, and businesses backed up to the park with fences all around them.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Prof. Carlos won a katana in a comp last weekend, and was playing with it before class. He let me play with it too, to my humble gratitude. It led to an interesting conversation about handling other people’s weapons, and whether or not it was disrespectful to grab the sword by the blade or drop it on the floor. He knows I had a lot of TCMA etiquette pounded into me before coming to BJJ. He actually apologized to *me* for dropping his own sword on the floor, when I winced.

Standup: front choke defense.

Pull guard to loop choke

Top half guard to gi tail choke. A second permutation in case foe defends by pressing your forearm down.

King Of The Hill, side control, mount vs escape. I was on the bottom the entire time and did very well- although granted I was almost always escaping to my Home Away From Home, bottom half guard.

One roll with Frasier, who tapped me with a keylock.

He’s asking for a roll in the hay.


Violence works. It is something that bad guys use to get what they want. When people look for the sources of violence or seek peace, this is the elephant in the room that everyone ignores. As long as violence works, some people will use it. -Rory Miller

Evening BJJ in Bellevue. Almost everybody was watching Amy win her MMA fight, so it was a very small class. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked with anyone other than Chrisanne. I was hoping Peter would be there, but he was not.

One of the warmups that Doug had us do tonight was a logroll all the way down the mat with hands and feet both up off the mat. I looked at that and thought, “What’s hard about that?” I did it really fast, twice (one direction and then the other). All was well until almost to the end of the 2nd run, and then quite abruptly I stared to feel nauseous. It was very odd. I have always done a ton of MA and dance and acrobatics and all sorts of stuff, and I have never had that issue. I guess I will limit the logrolls to once across the floor (half one way, half the other). Nausea persisted through class- mild but distracting. I had to skip the sparring, which sucked because I love to get a chance to spar with Doug.

From bottom half guard: Get the underhook, then go deep (get your face waaaaaaaaay down there to avoid being crossfaced out). Grab opponent’s far foot and pass it to your other hand, behind hir butt. Underhook hir other knee. Rearrange your feet- CAREFULLY- you have to make sure you keep that foot trapped- so that you can roll onto your stomach and scissor your legs for the sweep. Go to side control around either side, you can keep the foot if you are able.

From bottom half guard: go for the kimura. (If opponent is sitting up, yank hir forward with your legs so that s/he has to post.) When s/he sticks hir hand in hir groin to defend the kimura, keep ahold of the wrist but use that over-the-shoulder hand to grab the back of hir belt or pants instead. Now loosen your legs just enough to make the opponent think s/he can pass. As s/he does, hoist hir overhead and to the side (like an upa). S/he ends on hir back, you can keep the arm and finish the kimura from the top. Or take top control, or armbar, or whatever (I was ending up in N/S, which was fine with me). Note that this takes about as much effort as wafting a feather. The opponent’s own effort to pass lofts hir over. You are not using arm strength to heave hir, and you are also not dragging hir over your face. Doug does this to me ALL THE TIME, so it was nice to learn it. I will have to ask him for a defense. I hate finding myself being swept when I know exacly what’s coming and can’t stop it, but the alternative seems to be park there and allow yourself to be kimura’ed. There must be another option.

Doug likes to end his classes with a choke. This one was from closed guard. Pull opponent forward with your legs and do a double circular parry in front of your face so that as s/he posts, you whizzer one bicep. Clamp it nice and tight and grab hir opposite gi lapel with the same hand. Stick the thumb of your OTHER hand into the lapel just above your first grip. Slide it up to the back of hir collar, then whip the forearm over hir head and choke. This is a sublime choke. The guy was tapping almost immediately, and there was still miles of room left to add more pressure. When he did it to me, I noticed that because both hands are on the same side, I didn’t immediately register it as an imminent threat. Also, once he started applying it, I held out for a bit thinking “It’s fine… it’s fine…” and then ALLOFASUDDEN there were the black roses blooming in front of my eyes. Once it was truly in position, it was damn quick.

All three of tonight’s techniques begin with positions that I find myself in frequently but then get stalled in because I can’t quite remember what to do. If at least one of them sticks and I can remember to try it live, I’ll be very happy. In particular, my brain seems to have an extraodinarily difficult time retaining the mechanics of gi chokes- an area in which I would really like to expand my practical toolbox. I can’t wait to try this one on Chrisanne.

Doug (as Hozier comes on the sound system): “This music has got to go.”
Kitsune: “You don’t like this one?”
Doug: “No… it sounds depressing. And I’m not sure what it’s about.”
Kitsune: “It’s about sex. He’s asking for a roll in the hay.”
Doug: “Really?!?”

“She’s tough!”


Perfect is the enemy of good. – Voltaire

Saturday competition training in Seattle.

Lord, this comp class wipes me out. I don’t know how long I am going to be able to keep doing this. Usually I have to bail on the second hour- which I went in today determined to not do- but the cardio, at my age and carrying the ten extra pounds I’m currently carrying…. UUUUUUUURGGGGGGGGGGHHH. I was whimpering as I climbed out of the car back at the Mount Index Daunless Outpost after class. Right now my thighs ache the way they usually do the morning after. Which means tomorrow morning is going to suuuuuuuuuuuuuck. But what a great week of training!

Chrisanne hasn’t had a chance to work with Georgette yet, so I told her she could have first crack at asking Georgette to drill. She’s like, “Oh my God, no, I’m just a blue belt… you go ahead…” so I went to the locker room and told Georgette that Chrisanne really wanted to drill with her but was too shy to ask. 😉 I had been hoping that Z or (short) John would be there today, but none of my favorite men were there (unless you count Lindsey and Griff, whom I can’t really ask to drill unless they offer). I also didn’t want to shanghai Casey, because we had already used each other to warm up before class. Now that Pat is brown, I feel a little awkward asking him to drill an entire class with me unless he offers first. This put me with Emma, a white belt that I seem to recall working with once or twice before. She had weight on me as well as enough skill to match if not dominate me.

Standup- one lapel grip that you can’t let go of; try to get a takedown. I couldn’t get anything on Emma, who has very superb reaps and was also trying a few other things.

Standup to pulling half guard.

We were doing some rather complex multi-step drills, and it was a struggle to get all the steps.

Opponent has spider guard. You pull back, squat, and pass your left hand UNDER the leg to grip inside of pantleg. Step to the opposite side and stand/yank upright, then crouch so that hir thigh is trapped atop yours. S/he tries to roll away, you take the back. It flows really well *IF* you shove your right knee between the floor and hir waist just as s/he rolls- the momentum seems to sorta suck you right into the gap and there you are with your hooks and choke sunk.

Opponent has Del a Riva. You turn your right knee (the one s/he has trapped) to the outside. (This same detail was in one of the techniques Carlos did with us earlier this week, so THAT step at least was easy). Then kick that same leg in the opposite direction, and pass to that side. DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS during any of these passes, until you are well past and the position is secure- otherwise s/he will just roll away from you.

Lots of drill reps, interspersed with about a zillion more periods of takedown sparring, and some random positional sparring. All the takedown fighting, combined with the repetitive get-up-get-down of the half guard pulls, and all the get-up-get-down of those spider guard passes, had me reeling with exhaustion. I made a very poor account of myself against Emma, which was kind of embarrassing. I really notice how tired I get when we do drills that involve a lot of having to stand back up over and over, as opposed to drills where you just stay on the ground and roll/wiggle back into place after each rep.

I had wanted to get at least one roll with Georgette, but she had to go (which was probably just as well, since I’m not sure I had the energy left to fight off a newborn kitten at that juncture). I sat a while (mainly because I was wishing someone would come along to carry me out to the car), then noticed Lindsey sitting on the mat with his back to me. So of course I had to take it.

He stuck his head right up into my favorite gi choke, but I still couldn’t finish it on him. He explained that if I can crawl my guard up a little higher on his back and/or teepee my feet up a bit, I might be able to get that little bit extra enough to finish.

It was amusing to have both Chrisanne and Georgette come up to me separately afterward and say of one another, “She’s tough!”

I am considering calling out Anica for the next Revolution- not because I’m ready to compete again or because I think I can beat her, but because having a comp on my schedule seems to be the only way I can reliably discipline myself to get my weight back down to normal. If Georgette competed, we could have a three-woman purple belt bracket between 120 and 140.

This got me thinking again about my defeatism problems and my utter lack of making any progress on them. I don’t know what to do. I’m considering pinging Side Control (Dave) on FB and see if he has any advice. I don’t really have any reason to think he has the answers to this issue, but I’m just not feeling comfortable discussing this with any of the other black belts right now for some reason. I can’t really imagine any of them dealing with persistent and serious defeatist mindsets. Dave is at least near my age and he says he has a cruddy comp record at black, so maybe he would at least be able to relate a little easier than some of these BJJ machines.

More asymmetrical than ever


Martial arts are one among the many means to come in contact with our perceptive potential. During the practice of martial arts, we go back to a primordial simplicity. No need of drugs, objects, or external substances to help us. We are left alone with our bodies. We don’t have to wait for things to happen, we make them happen. It is like Zen archery or like climbing mountains: we use the body as a takeoff runway for inner skies. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path


Tuesday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. It was pretty amusing to see all the tape and Advil getting passed around before class, among those who are doing the evening training camps.

Standup: opponent throws cross jab. You throw up “Black Crane” type elbow shield and change level. Scoot in and try to get an elbow strike to opponent’s ribs. Then grab for double-leg takedown. Opponent defends by spinning out and grabbing headlock. You grab behind knee and around waist and take down. Now: same headlock escape and armbar as yesterday. Today we grabbed the pants as we sat back for the armbar.

I had some issues with the way that this differed from what we did yesterday. I didn’t like the reaction to the headlock not involving fighting the neck hold at all. I can see that if you take the guy down, most of the danger is past- but if that headlock is on well and good, I’m concerned that he might break my neck or choke me out or otherwise put the screws to me before I can take him down.

Asymmetrical choke, again. I actually got praise for this by Carlos.

King Of The Hill from top side control and then bottom side control. I got really destroyed by everybody today in KOTH. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to get destroyed by Otavio Sousa. Maybe another morning.

Asymmetrical chokes


What’s your opponent’s strength? What will he be relying on? Deny him that. While remembering that, if he’s good, he knows you’re going to try to deny him that, and will be devising ways to prevent you from denying him that- while trying to deny you your strengths too. -Campfire Tales From Hell


Lunchtime BJJ Kirkland.

Standing headlock. Fight the arm at your throat while turning your face into enemy’s ribs. Do not turn face toward crook of elbow.

Place free arm about hir waist. Swing your leg back and go to one knee to put the party on the ground. Side control. If s/he clings to the headlock, grab your own wrist and post on hir face while you posture up to pry it off. Note that to use the full strength of both arms, you want to use the hand on top to clasp the wrist on bottom. Note also that if you are a tiny Kitsune, this may not be sufficient against a behemoth and you may have to resort to some squirming and twisting to pop your head out.

Side control flow drills. SC with gable grip, backsit, front mount, dismount, SC. Rinse, repeat.

Same, only no gable grip- elbow in the ear and opposite hand controlling the hip nearest you.

Asymmetrical choke. Side control with your arm under opponent’s head. Grip gi at far shoulder. I found an ouside grip better- ie, I tended to get too bound up if I tried to grip in the lapel. But you have to be able to keep hir down, so do what you need to do. The arm nearest opponent’s feet, push that under and across your own chest until you can grip behind the collar. Now flip your first forearm over hir face and choke with forearm. You need to make sure you dig in well under that jawbone, because s/he is going to be straining hir chin down as soon as s/he realizes what you’re doing.

Some positional sparring from side control.

A roll with the new guy (I think he’s another “John”- I need to retain his name, because he’s a really nice guy. He uses a lot of muscle, but he is aware of it and chagrined by it. He’s very polite. He seems to be having a lot of fun. I hope he stays.) and one with Cindy (no-gi, with copious standup). Almost got a tomoe nage on the new guy- it wasn’t very clean and I couldn’t get on top after, but I did manage to loft him over. Too bad- it only works on each new person once, so I blew it!

It was much fun to watch Cindy rolling with the new guy, while I heckled from the sidelines.

The tangled web we weave


Stacking: a skilled fighter will use many things in combination. Strikes and gouges can both set up a throw and do damage during the execution. You can lock a limb while sweeping a leg. You can use a lock to slam the threat into a corner or over a coffee table. It’s all good. –Rory Miller

Fri: 128. Okay, so maybe it’s a LITTLE funny.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup: Judo grips. Push and pull back and forth a few times to make foe step back and forth. Then as s/he is stepping forward with the foot on your elbow-grip side, pull DOWN with the elbow grip and UP with the lapel grip as you use your same-side foot to sweep opponent’s ankle between the two of you. You want to do this very suddenly, after s/he has committed hir weight to the step but before hir foot is down. (Note: stupid side is phenomenally stupid.)

Now: Top side control. Use knee to isolate the arm. Go for KOB, but it’s a trap!!!!!! As opponent puts hand on your knee, you pin it to hir belt. That knee you have on hir belly, stretch it all the way behind you and then sweep it in a huge glorious circle around to stick your foot behind opponent’s neck. You are going OVER TOP of hir arm. As you put your foot behind the neck, grab your own ankle with the other hand.

(Note: as you do this sweeping circular motion, you can also yank the opponent’s head and shoulders up a bit to make it easier to stuff your foot in there. If s/he has turned toward you a little in order to try to shrimp out from under your KOB, this will also make your life easier. Thank you very much.)

Now roll. DO NOT LET GO OF YOUR ANKLE!!!! Place your other foot on opponent’s hip. Opponent is probably helping you at this juncture because s/he has now realized your dastardly plot, and is trying to get postured to defend the triangle.

As long as you have kept that ankle, you ought to be able to complete your adjustments in a leisurely fashion.

You can also finish the triangle without rolling if you wish.

Opponent is in turtle, you sprawled on top N/S. Place left arm against the left side of hir head and scoot to that side. As you are sinking the crossface, go ahead and secure a grip on hir OPPOSITE bicep.

Now reach under hir with your free arm and hug both hir biceps. Pull hir arms towards you and dump hir on the mat on hir back. If you stay nice and tight, and focus on placing your kneeling thigh under hir biceps, you can keep those arms trapped- which is a great position from which to do all sorts of mischief to bring about a finish.

Finally: gi choke from closed guard. Break opponent’s posture and grips and lock hir right bicep under your left armpit. Linger there at smooching distance while you get the fingers of that same hand into hir opposite lapel (you can use your other hand to feed it if you need to). Don’t tighten it up to the point that you don’t have enough slack for the next step: stick the thumb of your right hand into the back of the collar right at the tag. Now whip your forearm over hir head and choke.

One roll with Daniel, one with Ron, one with the visiting black belt.

Ron seemed to be doing some catch and release, to the point where I was like, “Come on, finish your subs. Tap me, dammit. I’m competing next week.” He replied, “I’m ALWAYS trying to tap you, Kitsune.” He was also doing a lot of inverted guard. I sprawled heavy on his face (sorry Ron) and used his gi tails to wrap up his shoulders and neck. I did not have a cohesive plan with that- my brain isn’t that geometrically clever- but I did manage to get him so tied up that he found himself unable to transition into any of the nasty little tricks that he likes to set up from inverted guard. As we panted there with our faces about two millimeters apart, and I watched him try to move one way and then the other while dismay began to creep into his eyes, I whispered, “Oh, the tangled webs we weave.”

So after two ten-minute rolls with Daniel and Ron that were tons of fun, Doug goes to put Mario with the visiting black belt, and Carlos stops him. “He’s been training hard all day. Geef heem a break. Let heem go weeth Keetsune.”

I couldn’t decide whether to be insulted or not. On the one hand: Sparring me is apparently considered a “break” or at least markedly less work than sparring Mario, who is the same rank (taller and heavier, but it’s not like he’s a grizzly or anything). On the other hand, since Carlos is the one who is ranking me, one would think he wouldn’t want me to roll with his buddy if he thinks said buddy will pull him aside after class and ask him, “Dude, what kind of bad acid trip were you on when you gave that chick a purple belt????”

So anyway, I fight the visiting black belt- who is a smaller-size guy and turned out to be great fun. He was letting me work some- even let me have a choke tap. I seemed to be rolling pretty well, and I got the sense that he didn’t think I sucked. He also gave me a split lip, but it was well worth it.

It was a fun night of training.

Public service message: Paul Thomas Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing MMA school (Katy, Texas) has indicated that Nick Schultz (the guy who raped a teammate at TLI and left her semiconscious on a cement parking lot in the middle of a winter night) is welcome to come back and train there (he has trained at Paul Thomas before). Please help spread the word that Paul Thomas Jiu Jitsu Kickboxing MMA welcomes dangerous and immoral asswipes onto its mats to troll for their next victims among its students and their families. Please also indulge me as I will be using this blog on an ongoing basis to publicize schools and sponsors who support rapists. We need to get this out into the light where everyone can see.

Ego games


Most people are not beaten. They give up. –Rory Miller

Mon: 128.5

I know I *could* get down to 124 before the Revolution, but I’m starting to think I just don’t currently feel like dealing with the level of deprivation it’s going to take.

Casey, on Facebook: Ben, you think life is only 1/2 guard!!!!!
Kitsune: When you roll with Ben, your life is 1/2 guard whether you like it or not.
Aussie Dave: At least it can be deep.

Today I got my ass kicked by some brand new white belts…. and I am currently feeling fairly mentally/emotionally healthy about it.

As a blue belt, this occurance tended to invoke one of two reactions: steam-shooting-out-of-ears frustration or black-hole despair; both accompanied by a running mental commentary about how epically I suck and how that will never change no matter what I do. I didn’t feel worthy to step on the mat or breathe the air in the school.

Today- at one-stripe purple when I might be expected to feel *more* pressure to avoid getting ass-kicked by new white belts- I am feeling “Okay, so I got ass-kicked by white belts. It happens sometimes. We all cool.”

I suspect part of my newfound maturity has to do with the fact that the white belts in question were polite and respectful, and didn’t act like dicks either during or after the ass-kickings.

Interestingly, what bothered me more was when Casey performed demos with- not me as the senior student in the room- but some of the more junior guys. I’m fairly sanguine about that when Carlos does it, because he’s about eight times as tall as I am and it’s just clownish for him to do demos with me. When other teachers pass me over for less senior students, it still presses restimulating buttons- although I am able to clearly recognize the reaction as such.

Standup: foes throws haymaker. You step in and use both open hands to block bicep. Overwrap same-side arm over foe’s attacking shoulder. Shuffle quickly to stand against hir ribs on OPPOSITE side as you hug that arm around hir waist. Step near foot in front of hir, squat, load, hip throw. Keep the arm. KOB. Figure 4 armbar.

Cross-collar chokes from closed guard.

Gi choke from guard: right cross-collar deep grip, open guard, foot on foe’s hip on the same side that you have the grip. Turn body. Get handful of gi on back of opponent’s shoulder. Square up and choke. This is one of my favorite subs, and very successful on white belts, although anyone I’ve ever rolled with more than once knows better than to stick their head up for it. I don’t do the body turn, though. I’m not sure how I feel about it. It seems like opening my guard gives the opponent more chance to escape- although doing it this way might make hir less likely to recognize what I’m doing so readily.

Ezekiel from closed guard: Hug opponent to your chest, right arm right around hir neck. Use right hand to grab inside left sleeve cuff, FINGERS IN. Slip left blade hand under foe’s chin with little finger side against throat. Pull choke and straighten legs to help it along. This choke is one that I haven’t quite solidified enough to include in my game yet, but I love it, so I hope it will gel this time. I think it might be good for my small hands.

A little positional sparring from closed guard- sweep vs keep from being swept- and a couple of short spars. This is where I got my ass kicked by white belts. Still doing relatively okay with it.

I wanted to ask Casey to roll a little no-gi with me after class, buthe was busy answering questions from one of the new guys and it looked like he would be a while, so I took my leave.

Return Of Terry


We can choose to step out and avoid everything painful, but that is a form of soul loss and only will make the journey longer and more difficult. – Tasara

Walked to work and back. I wasn’t working today, but I had two little biopsies done. I am corpse-pale and heavily freckled, so melanoma loves people like me. Folks, do not wait to have any funky-looking mark checked out. Things to watch for: asymmetrical borders, a variance of colors in the same mark, bigger than a pencil eraser, and a spot that changes appearance over time. You do not need to see all 4 of these to start worrying. You don’t even need one- anything that looks the slightest bit odd, have it looked at. Now, not later. Melanoma can be very deadly and fast-moving. Don’t forget that you can also have odd marks on your back, scalp or other places that you can’t see for yourself. Okay, that’s my public service health care message for the day.

Friday evening open mat at Kirkland. No Lamont, to my disappointment. No Shannon, either. Apparently she injured her shoulder. But Terry was there! He brought his girlfriend Chelsea, who is a white belt. We also had Wei, blue-belt Lindsey, and Casey. I got to roll with everybody except Cindy today.

Terry- constantly moving; he makes me tired just watching. “What the hell do you eat to be like this?” “Gluten-free, lots of coffee.” I was on the bottom constantly, but I tried to keep moving, because he gives me a bunch of shit if I Clench-N-Cling.

Wei- always a challenge, but I feel like I held my own with him a little better than I usually do.

Casey- I asked him to deep-half me, and I had some semi-successful practice at both defending it in the first place as well as trying to respond to it in ways that DIDN’T involve conceding the sweep and dropping back on my kiester. He showed me a baseball bat variant using the gi tail to wrap-n-trap the far arm. He had me KOB him weirdly high up on his chest- the idea being to bait the person to push your knee with the free hand, whereupon you pin it down with your leg and then choke the snot out of them. Forehead to the mat beside opponent’s hip.