Careful, Carlos will yell at you!

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In all athletic disciplines, it is the internal work that makes the physical mat time click, but it is easy to lose touch with this reality in the middle of the grind. – Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

Thurs evening No-gi in Bellevue.

Pummelling to backtake. Carlos emphasizes the changing of levels as you duck under foe’s arm (which I always want to cheat because of my poor knees). I am good about remembering to always capture an arm as I take the back, but I’m not good about remembering to capture the correct arm. I am aware that part of my sloppiness and reluctance about getting and maintaining wrist grips (especially in no-gi) is because my brain assumes that with most partners, I will not be able to keep the grip due to the largeness of their wrist versus the smallness of my hand. I think I am also subconsciously timid about injuring my thumb. Carlos usually uses a “C” grip. I don’t feel secure with that grip. I should experiment with it more often, though.

You standing, opponent lying on hir back with soles toward you. Place palms on hir belly (Note- have elbow bent and splayed a bit outward so as not to invite an armbar.). Dance feet from side to side, ending in a partial squat with alternating opponent’s feet between your knees. After a few reps, slide near knee over hir thigh and pass. UNDERHOOK THE FAR ARM (this is my persistent weakness) and trap near arm under your own armpit.

You standing, opponent sitting, handfighting. Grab foe’s ankles and rocking-chair hir back. As s/he sits up again and tires to grab half guard, grab hir right ankle with your L hand and press your rt palm to hir ribs. (Note- have elbow bent and splayed a bit outward so as not to invite an armbar. Also, so not let hir put that sole on the floor.) Press hir to the floor with that rt hand as you half-squat in standing half guard setup. Donkey-kick the RIGHT foot back (more challenge for me here, trying to remember which foot) and slide your thigh under hir rt thigh (now both hir legs are on your rt side). Pass guard, pressuring on the now-pretzeled opponent trapped under you. Opportunity here to snug your right arm in nice and tight for a little bit of a neck-crank if you want to be a douche. More challenge for me at THIS point figuring out where to put the opponent’s arms. I get confused on where I want to underhook, and I tend to sloppily leave at least one arm free to fight me. It’s so easy to get hyperfocussed on that juicy neck.

Same entry. As opponent rocking-chairs up and tries to hug your leg, you hook rt hand behind hir neck and place controlling elbow on hir breastbone. Yank hir elbow up and insert your knee into the space. Pass. Again, don’t get sloppy about trapping arms here. This is a variation on one of my favorite passes, and I was able to do it pretty smoothly, although I had to be really careful on Chrisanne’s ribs. I was also able to give her good constructive criticism on her controlling-elbow action (“Feel the way I brace this elbow?” “EeeRRRRRkkkk… yeah .” “You do the same thing to me.”).

These last two techniques had a lot of steps, and I remember how freakin’ frustrated I used to get as a white and blue belt trying to remember all the steps with the details and sequencing. It’s much better now. I still struggle some, but not nearly as bad as I used to. I don’t think this is a result of me getting better (ha ha), but I have seen most of this stuff in some form or other so that it’s not quite as much rote memorization of completely foreign choreography.

Same entry, but when opponent rocking-chairs up, you guillotine. Carlos wanted us to press our abs on the top of the person’s head. I feel great setting up the guillotine (it has always been one of my favorites), but it was really weird to position the head so centrally. I also couldn’t get over the feeling that that ought to be considered a neck crank. I am aware of having annoyed both Carlos and Cindy by continually asking “why isn’t (insert technique they just taught) a neck crank?” It’s a legitimate question, and I really want to know- but after seeing the expression on their faces the last few times I asked this, I felt like I had better quit asking. (Maybe I can ask Doug later on….) Note- try to get the bone at the base of the thumb right into the throat. Makes a huge difference. When Chrisanne did this, it made me want to tap as soon as she placed it there, even BEFORE she placed her belly on my head or did any pulling at all.

Positional training starting from one person standing, one person sitting on hir foot, rotating partners. After I lost Chrisanne, I had all huge guys- so I did not do too well with this. (The first was Big John, who is Big indeed, but experienced to be careful….. even so, Carlos stood over us and was like, “Be careful. Be careful. Don’t put your hand there Watch your weight. Be careful.”)

One roll with Chrisanne and one with Ben. Ben is definitely approching black belt level. He so effortlessly pretzels me any way he wishes. I tried to set up a kneebar, and he said, “Careful, Carlos will yell at you.” YES, I know!! Carlos wasn’t looking, so I got away with it, although of course Ben easily shucked me off and triangled me.

I had really wanted to do a hard workout tonight. But I (surprise surprise) slept poorly and was pretty tired…was feeling some various and sundry injuries hampering me….. also, I had to take a decongestant before class. By the time I drove home, I was reeling with exhaustion, even though it was supposedly a nondrowsy variety. I think I still managed to put in a decent class (and stayed for two rolls after- yay me), but not as hard as I had wanted to work.

I have been good about eating tons of eggs lately. Mostly scrambled, although I found some frozen meat fritattas in the half-off section at the Safeway deli and really liked them. I am going to try to make my own slightly modified version.

Having a LOT of trouble controlling my snacking and binge-eating at work. There is so often junk food there, even if I manage to refrain from bringing any with me. I have even resorted to the vending machine a couple of times lately, which I am usually too cheap to do- I need to NOT allow that to become a habit. I can feel the conditioning kicking in and I’m wanting to search for stuff to put in my mouth as soon as I finish my initial maintenence tasks and get a breather in the work flow. On Tuesday there was a trail mix in the break room. It had chocolate chips in it. After I had picked at this for a while despite myself, I took it down to the coat room to get it out of my sight. (Assistant: “Hey, where are you going with that? (looking like kicked puppy) “Well, I brought it to share… but maybe I just won’t bring it any more.” I tried to explain that I was watching my weight and I can’t have snacks (especially chocolate) sitting at my elbow, but I managed to offend her. There’s also one other assistant in particular who loves to bake and is always bringing in cookies and crap. She also gets all wilted and sad-puppy-faced if I put her stuff in the coat room. This is frustrating. It feels like even when I’m trying, other people are actively sabotaging me. I know they don’t mean any harm, which makes me feel like a terrible person for hurting their feelings. But geez. Healthy eating is difficult enough without it being a social minefield with the people I have to work with every day.)

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Defensive corsets

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If you would have trouble shooting the mentally disabled, you have the two concepts of self-defense and justice intertwined. You want whatever force you use to be used on someone who is bad- or, preferably, evil. That does make the conscience easier. Unfortunately, you can be hurt or killed by people who may not be able to understand the ramifications of what they do. –Rory Miller

Belly band holster feels like a corset. Next to the skin is not very comfortable. Over a cotton shirt, under a scrub top, is fine. Will try over a cami/under a t-shirt next.

Friday at Kirkland, the location’s first no-gi class.

Pummelling. Situp sweep. Failed situp sweep to guillotine.

Failed situp sweep to this: wrap your arm over opponent’s head so that the back of hir neck is in your armpit. Underhook hir armpit. You can gable-grip your hands here if you wish. If you’re mean like Cindy ( 😉 ), you can dig your elbow right into hir spine as you sweep (or armbar, if s/he is too stubborn to go with the sweep).

I had to leave before the rolling, as it was a work night.

James’ juicy neck

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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.