The line



The short answer to handling active shooters is shoot back.  –Marc MacYoung

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Same techniques we did Thursday, along with a variation on the sweep where the opponent stands up in your guard. This one involved using a butt-bump to break down one leg, and I struggled with it.

One roll with Doug and one with Cindy. Holy cow! Where else do you get to finish your class with super-fun rolls with two black belts- one who shows you old-man tricks and one who shows you small-woman tricks.  It was fun, exhausting and educational.

Took a decently long walk at Reiter Foothills with the dogs on Saturday, and then went up the Index wall on Sunday. There was still quite a bit of snow once we got into the forest, which made for some struggles with footing as well as struggles trying to stay on the correct path. It was a challenge, but we got to the top. Then coming down…. mama mia. As usual, coming down is LOTS worse for me than going up, and this was the worst it’s ever been. I hope it was just the snow and all, and not my new normal. My knees felt like Ziplock baggies filled with broken glass and thumbtacks. When I got up for work that night, they felt like Ziplock baggies full of broken glass and thumbtacks encased in water balloons that were filled just shy of bursting. The degree of visible swelling at and just above my knees was disturbing. I’ve never seen them like that.

It scared me. I was picturing being older and having them feel like that all the time.

I draw a strong line of distinction between pain versus incapacity.  My knees were bad enough last night that if I had found myself in a situation where I needed to throw down, I fear one or both of them may have mechanically given out. That is two VERY different places…. the place where you say, “this hurts, maybe hurts BAD, but if I need to do X, I can,” versus “I mechanically can NOT make my body do X”.

On the good side, the slight (unrelated) knee injury that was bugging me earlier in the week made it through 2 BJJ classes and 3 hikes without problems.

Is my B. O. that bad?


Most of the time, the person who “wins” at violence is the one who crossed the line. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Open mat at Seattle.

I got there kind of late because I slept in a bit….. I never get to sleep in, and it was just so nice…. but I got to Seattle and as I walked in, everbody was clearing out.

Me: “Is my B.O. *that* bad??”
Peter: “It’s pretty bad.”

He stayed to roll with me for about 10 min, then he had to leave and the only person left was a young-20’s blue belt that I’d never met before. He was fun. We rolled for an hour.

Now that it’s getting cold, it is tempting to wuss out on hiking…. but the dogs are still eager to go, and one of my nearby walking buddies is being really helpful about getting us out there.

This commute is killing my training….


You may think you have an ace up your sleeve. Hell, you might even have one. But recognize that the other guy has three or four. If he didn’t think he had something that would let him win, he wouldn’t play. –Campfire Tales From Hell

I have done four classes since my last blog post. Still struggling a lot with insomnia and the resultant generalized “feeling like crap” as well as the issue of not feeling safe- or just plain not feeling like- driving to the school and back. Also feeling lazy about blogging. 😛 All I want to do is sleep, and since I can’t sleep, all I feel like doing is nesting with a pile of books. I really want to go to jiu jitsu- I miss it, I crave it- but I’m struggling.

Anyway, I remember working on clock chokes; I remember working with three white belt guys over two days who were all respectful enough that I felt comfortable giving pointers. One of them in particular thanked me several times. It always feels so good. I really enjoy helping newbies, when I feel like they are actually listening to me- and I think I’m good at it.

I remember rolling with the visiting prof, whom I am pretty sure had me pegged as the village idiot because I kept asking him to show each technique One More Time. He started looking me right in the eye while he taught the class, and helped me more than anyone else in the room. That’s great, although it did make me want to show him- when we finally rolled- that I actually do know a thing or two. I think I surprised him a bit. 🙂

Worked with Chrisanne last night, which was wonderful. Hip throws, hip throw to armbar, armbars from mount. I am getting better at remembering to pinch my knees together, which has ever been the detail I tend to neglect. Chrisanne and I did two spars (from standing) at the end… they were great spars. We are so evenly matched.

It’s been raining for a week and a half, so walks with the dogs have also been curtailed- surely a contributor to my general laziness. Finally got a 3 hour hike on Weds and an hour each Thurs and Fri. Was a bit sore after the 3 hour, but felt much better overall. Dogs get woefully stiff- and January gets very restless- when they are not getting hikes, so it’s great incentive… although I can’t do anything about the weather.

The Halloween candy situation at work was reather devastating. And now we are swinging into The Holidays. It would be good to try to keep my eating under some semblance of control.

Uphill, then downhill.


The stakes aren’t just pride and emotion. They can get real serious, real quick- even if you thought you were playing for such penny-ante shit as your pride. –Campfire Tales From Hell

I am missing some classes because my insomnia rages unchecked. There are many times when I just do not feel safe to get behind the wheel. The doc has informed me that I may work my way up to four of these prescription sleeping pills (and presumably not die). I took two yesterday (I skipped the one-and-a-half step) and it did nada.

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup, judo grips: Turn almost side-by-side with opponent and stick your near leg between hir feet really far back. When s/he shifts balance to the other foot to try to move away or seek a steadier stance, quickly yank your foot out and trip hir OTHER foot. Speed, correct timing, and getting the person offbalance are key…. as well as being a convincing actor and making the foe think that you really are fixated on that near leg.

Standup, you put an arm up to guard and the opponent grabs your wrist/forearm. Extricate arm (keeping opponent’s arm) and scoot almost side-by-side again- only this time you grab the belt. Don’t go to the back. This was just a setup, but it was almost irresistible to do a straight armbar from here. Unfortunately, the straight armbar involves stepping back, and carlos wanted us to step forward.

Triangles from open guard, baiting opponent to yank hir sleeve cuff away from you so that s/he pulls one arm back.

One spar with Christy. I am always expecting her to smash me; she’s technical, very strong, has MUCH better cardio, and some weight on me. I haven’t rolled with her much in a while, but the last few times I have, I was able to control her. I even got a sub today (head and arm choke). I also had several pointers for her in regards to her upcoming competition.

One spar with a four stripe white belt girl. I was able to handle her pretty easily.

These two elderly dogs are still walking/hiking me into the ground, and it’s embarrassing. The upside is that we are getting lots of exercise. Nor do they like to allow me to stroll along. Unless I work really hard- with constant attention- to rein them in, we are power-walking the entire time (regardless of terrain). One problem I’m running into is that many of the trails here go UP a mountain and then back DOWN. Coming down is a bitch on my bad knees, even when I’m not being yanked along by an impatient dog who never gets tired. If I have to walk downhill, I’d much rather do it FIRST, when I’m fresh.

Walking and weeping


Freeing the body inevitably leads to freeing the heart. –Gabrielle Roth

My cat died yesterday. He has been on borrowed time for several years now, so I thought I was prepared (as prepared as one can be for such a thing), but it is really hitting me hard. Could not do Thursday class. Cried a lot, which I do very rarely, and I hate it- partly because it plays hell with my already-awful sinuses. Now I am going to be congested as hell and headachey for days, even if I wasn’t STILL crying off and on, which I am.

I have been walking every day with the dogs. Several shortie trips up and down the neighbors’ road over the course of a day, to pee, plus one long walk/hike every morning, lasting an hour or two. We have been hitting many of the trails and parks along the Highway 2 corridor from Monroe to Stevens’ Pass. Today we did the Heybrook Lookout trail.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Warmed up by rolling a little with Peter. His grips are getting scary good, along with everything else. I was able to keep him off me for a while with good spider guard, though.

We drilled several leg drag passes. They were interesting ones, too, that I have not done before, but forgive me- I am just too fucking tired and weepy to notate them tonight. I think I did well by just going to class tonight and not crying on the mat.

Once again I have gotten out of the habit of staying after class to roll. Just so damn tired. I need to use a wet paper towel to cool off my face and then just sit for five min, and then I will almost certainly be good to go for at least one.

I have finally made a doctor’s appointment regarding the fact that I can’t fall asleep and can’t stay asleep for more than 40 min at a time. I haven’t slept more than two hours and change per night for a couple of months now, and that broken into 3 or 4 pieces. I am going to ask for a non-addictive, temporary course of sleeping pills. I am also going to ask to try an anti-anxiety medication. I do not want to be on drugs. I do not want to be officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I have resisted this for so long, and I am really unhappy about it, but I am convinced that I have a brain chemistry imbalance. The fact that my mind won’t ever stop spinning like a mouse on a wheel is certainly contributing to- if not causing- my sleep issues. This cannot continue- sooner or later I am going to make a serious error at work or behind the wheel, and someone else is going to suffer because of my resistance to getting help. I need to get it together before that happens. The appointment is on Tuesday morning.

The Dog Workout


Giving in to the urge to tell someone to fuck off can have lifetime results. Odds are good this guy will be out of your face and life in a few moments. But if you give in to the impulse, well, remember every time you “play”, you’re taking a chance. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Well, it was not the caffeine. Nor the sugar.

I stayed on one soda per day (first thing in the morning) for a week.. Hardly any sugar, either. There was not one iota of change in my sleep patterns, my anxiety level, my energy level, or my weight. I am going to have to go to the doctor. Upside: now I can have my Dr Pepper, since I have proven that it doesn’t do a damn thing to me.

Went hiking with CK last week- Twin Falls and Deception Creek. We were both tired, and not pushing hard physically. On her last day, we did a little stance work. Once again, just STANDING with CK is more exhausting than sparring with anyone else.

I got the dog on Wednesday. Well, dogS…. because I have White Knight Complex, I was unable to say no to the elderly dog’s elderly buddy… and I consider myself damn lucky to have not ended the week with all three of them. The second dog is a foster- meaning I do not have to pay his vet bills. I have too many pets right now. It is a stressor. But they are all elderly or special-needs or both, and let’s be real- chances are that one or another of them will kick off soon and I will be back to four, which is a number I feel I can cope with.

We are doing a ton of walking (which was part of the point of obtaining a dog). Up and down the neighbor’s driveway, mostly, a ten-minute dirt-road stroll through the woods. Yesterday we walked for two hours around Al Borlin Nature trail and downtown Monroe (where we were attacked by a purse dog). Today we went to Big Eddy, which is only about 1.5 miles from my place.

The dog I picked is exactly what I wanted. She basically walks when I want to walk, and otherwise she is napping and completely unobtrusive and undemanding. It’s like having a hiking buddy that you take out of a drawer when you want to walk, and then put away when you are done. The foster is proving to be more high-maintenence (no good deed goes unpunished). He’s a dear, but he has a dismaying amount of energy for an elderly dog, and is constantly in my face. Tonight he was dragging me along on the leash (he wanted to RUN!!!), and when I tried to wear him out afterward with rowdy playing in the dog run, he wore ME out instead. Well, he is certainly going to be forcing me to get plenty of extra walking. It’s going to be challenging for me to try to keep up with him, and even more challenging for my poor dog (who is game, but arthritic, and her legs are about half the length of his).

Thursday evening no-gi in Bellevue. It was fun to drill with Peter.

Pummelling, double-leg setups, Standing guard passes. Standing guard pass to KOB. Standing guard pass to KOB to back take. Two or three variations of the bottom person trying to defend, and the top person switching gears and completing the pass in a different way. I would have liked to get down the details of these, but I didn’t blog it last night like I should have, and now the details are escaping my mind.

King of the hill: pass vs sweep, pass vs resist/submit. I got spanked; I drew exclusively very talented people. I did achieve one guard pass on a guy which surprised me. I hope he didn’t hand it to me.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Drill-Till-Ya-Puke night. All from standing guard passes, which is a real bitch on my knees (and my thighs). Standing guard pass to KOB. Standing guard pass to KOB to armbar. Standing guard pass to KOB to kimura. After working with each of these for a few minutes, we drilled each 100 times. I had to hustle to keep up with Chrisanne, whose Monkey Bar Gym work and clean eating have me eating her dust. My thighs are on fire. I did well with remembering to grab the pants on the armbar. Also worked on pinching my knees together, a persistant failing of mine. I did less well with the kimura. I get lazy with the grips, especially when I am tired and trying to go fast. The many, many, fast standing guard pass reps put me in a dangerous place- when I get really tired, I am prone to rolling my ankle out and twisting it badly. I did that tonight, but fortunately it was not too severe- I was able to continue, and it’s not swelling or aching much at all later (thank you gods).

Chrisanne and I had wanted to spar after, but we were both too wiped out.

My thighs are going to be twin pillars of pain in the morning. Not looking forward to being hauled along that dirt road, but it will be the best thing for them. (A little hair of the dog, har har.)

Get off the wall.


The applications change, but the core remains. Being able to use those core principles requires thorough knowledge of the subject and not just a shallow look. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Yard work in the morning.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup: judo grips. Grab your own lapel and turn your torso to break opponent’s lapel grip (do NOT step back as you do this). Pull hir toward you with your own lapel grip, stepping BACK with the same-side foot as you do so. This forces opponent to step forward. Drop to your knee (same side) and stick your other leg back behind you so that your own knee will not be in the way as you grab opponent’s heel (NOT HIR PANTS CUFF) and lift the foot. Pull on the lapel to assist opponent’s fall. Side control.

Same entry, but before you can get side control, opponent swings far leg over to try to replace guard. Lunge forward and hug the thigh with the arm closest to opponent. Your head should be on the back of hir thigh. If you were smart, you did not let go of the ankle. Keep pressing that down to the mat so that you can scoot around to the opposite side. Side control. (Don’t forget to go over the arm and under the head- I caught this error again and corrected it just as Carlos was coming over to correct me).

You have spider guard with feet on hips. Bring right foot over-and-in-and-around to “lasso”. Opponent drops that knee to the mat. Bring that SAME FOOT underneath your other foot and hook the toe under hir other knee. Pause to pinch the arm between your knees and yank it in a bit. Now take the other foot off the hip and place it on the floor. sweep. Side control. Note that if you keep control of that arm and bend your leg, you can trap the arm with your leg as you sit up, which is a lovely detail.

Same entry, adding the same replace-guard attempt and pass as on the earlier technique.

Chrisanne did not show up tonight, and there was an odd number on the mat, so as usual I was the last kid picked for the kickball team. Carlos was waving simultaneously at the two white belt girls and at Casey & Allison. Good for me, for once I did not do the self-deprecating thing and automatically go with the white belt girls- I picked Casey & Allison. Bad for me, as soon as I got over there, I tried to self-deprecate anyway and huddle against the wall. Carlos is like, “GET OFF THE WALL.” When there is a triad drilling, he wants to see quick and lively switching out; he does not want to see someone parked against the wall for minutes at a time. I had never seen this sweep before and I was anxious about messing it up in front of the brown belt and almost-brown-belt, but the only time I really faltered was when Casey distracted me by asking me unrelated-to-jiu-jitsu questions while I was trying to do the drill. I had to tell him to shut up and quit distracting me.

Didn’t stay for sparring because I have been feeling a little weird all day. A little nausea, and off-and-on slight swimmy-head feeling. I hydrated some more but it didn’t seem to help. Not sure what’s up.

I’m going to get a dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will be doing a lot more walking once I have a hiking buddy.



There are some possibilities for non-concussive unconsciousness without significant brain trauma- strangles (sleeper holds, vascular restraints… there are a lot of euphemisms)- the person goes out for twenty seconds plus, and unless there is a pre-existing condition (heart problem, arterial plaque or blood vessels weakened by excessive drug use) there are no ill effects. –Rory Miller

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. All spars.

Sat: I had lofty plans of BJJ followed by more yardwork, but my car died on the way to class. So I ended up spening the afternoon hiking across Bellevue to the Rent-A-Wreck instead. Missed class, and when I finally got home, it was raining. The day was a wash.

Basset hound

There is almost no place you can hit a human that physiologically stops them from shooting back. Shot to the heart? You’ve got roughly ten seconds to shoot back. Nothing below the first or second vertebrae prevents you from pulling a trigger. Headshots are not even reliable. A local man when I was a rookie took a .45 caliber slug between the eyes from three feet away and it bounced off his skull. In the 1977 murder of Baton Rouge officer Linda Lawrence, the threat took ten shots from a large caliber revolver including a contact shot to the solar plex area, a contact shot through the rib cage from side to side (The threat grunted and said, “You got me a good one that time,”  and threw Officer Lawrence’s partner across the room) and a contact shot through the top of the head. Even after the headshot, the threat got up one more time to fight. –Rory Miller

Monday: spent a couple of hours climbing rocks by the River with my new camera. Although jumping, sliding, and even STEPPING down is slow and careful these days due to the chronic pain in my knees, I was happy to find that I can still get anywhere that I want to get… anywhere that I would have expected to be able to get at 12 (which was ANYWHERE). No slips, no falls, even in marginal footwear and with the rocks and logs wet and frosty. I have the agility of a jungle cat.

Wednesday: Day 12 of the 30–Day Plank challenge. Up to 1.5 min.  The increments go up by 30 seconds from here, every couple of days. This is obviously not gradual enough to sanely get to 5 min for someone who has never planked.  But I will be interested to see how far I get.

Anica has thown out a 30-day “no junk food” challenge. This one is a gauntlet I will not be picking up! My response: “I would die.” It has occurred to me, though, that it might be feasable to introduce a “no junk food” weekday (probably Wednesdays, since that’s the final day of my rotation, and I usually have a sleep binge so there would be fewer conscious hours in which to exercise willpower). The “no soda” thing would be the real killer. Another idea: a “no junk food” hour. Hours to be added gradually. VERY gradually. Ha ha. I’d start with the middle of the day, because- again- I’d only be conscious for half of them. I really would like to do something about my terrible diet.

Thursday: More rock scrambling, not as much as on Monday, but enough to call exercise. I am trying to put  together a posse to pick up trash at Eagle Falls, which would also count as exercise.

The more I think about the junk food blackout hours, the better I like the idea. First blackout hour: 22:00 to 23:00. No Dr Pepper allowed during blackout hours, either.

I wanted to do some BJJ so bad today, but everything is closed. So I climbed the Index Wall with Cindy and Maddie. Cindy is not interested in pausing to admire plants, rocks, and views. It’s all SPRINT up the mountain and then SPRINT back down… while I scurried in her wake, huffing like a basset hound and trying to not fall too far behind. Embarrassingly, I had to ask for a few short breaks. I didn’t remember until we were halfway up the Wall that I have CK coming over for the next 2 days, and tai chi (along with anything else we might do) is going to be even more painful than usual on post-mountain-climbing swollen knees. Oh well. Suck it up, Buttercup!  Climbing the Index Wall is such great exercise.

Fri: CK told me an interesting story equating spoons to physical and mental resources, and told me that I seem to have too few spoons. She also likened my grim effort to do what I need to do each day with the resources I have on hand to a “death march”.  Although a rich combo of facts is surely at work, these MOTHERFUCKING ALLERGIES are a the top of the list. Followed up by sleep issues. She wants me to try acupuncture. She also gave me a new supplement idea to try. I wish I could shake (or at least cut down) my caffeine addiction. I know it is not helping my sleep issues.

Sun: 30 Day Plank Challenge, day sixeen. Okay, the two minute plank SUCKS. 2.5 might be my breaking point. We’ll see.

Blackout hour added: 10am to 11am. It is 10:04 right now, and I can’t have a Dr Pepper.

CK made vegetables. A LOT of vegetables. My freezer is now holding more vegetables than I have eaten in the last eight years combined. I am going to eat them all.

I wonder if I am ever going to get back to BJJ class.  😦   😦   😦  Heavy withdrawl.

Thurs lunchtime: I made it back to BJJ class!!!!    All spars.  Came back home and was so exhausted that I went right to bed.

Fri evening: Annnnnnnnnnd all spars again.

Tomorrow I am supposed to do a 3 min plank. The 2.5 did not succeed in breaking me, but this one might.



Improvisation consists of three things: situation, tools and location. –Marc MacYoung


hiking with CK and JB. We spent a good 4 hours. There was only one section that was downhill enough to pain my knees. The fronts of my thighs were pretty sore from all the double-leg takedowns I did on Thursday. I expected this to work itself out during 4 hours of hiking, but they were still sore at the end and continue to be sore today (Saturday). I don’t mind much, though. It’s that “you worked out hard” good sort of sore. Happily, my ankle held up and is not unduly sore.


Tai chi- and more hiking- planned, but CK came down with a migraine and we only got as far as Eagle Falls. Lovely, but heartbreaking due to the disrespect evidenced by litter and graffiti. I want to take a couple of trash bags down there and pick up, but I don’t have any resources for getting rid of it… I only have trash pickup once a month and I struggle to keep my own output down to that single can. Perhaps I will put out a call for a work party on the local group lists.


30 min on the stationary bike.

I now have an aerial silk rig in my home gym. Excuse me, I just have to say that again because it is so awesome… MY HOME GYM. I will rig one outdoors probably next summer (My budget requires that I space these projects out). The one I have now is of course only long enough to do very simple things a foot off the floor, but I was able to work out how to do a single-foot tie even though it’s been over 2 years (I think) since I’ve set foot in the circus school. I hope the muscle in my upper body comes back. Just hanging for a few seconds is exhausting. But aerial silk is so good for working the ENTIRE body, and is very core-intensive.

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. All spars. Very hot in the gym. Some people had to take breaks, but I did not.

Noticing that even now, the teachers tend to avoid pairing me up with any white belts. I guess that’s the safest call, but I can’t help wondering (again) if beating up some white belts might help me feel less inept. I wonder if I should go out of my way to try to play with white belts more often. Of course this plan will backfire if the white belts all end up cleaning my clock. It is also playing with fire as far as injury risk goes. Hmmm.

After that, I met CK and we tried to knock each other over. We didn’t do any actual striking- it was all balance/weight shift stuff- but it felt very weird to be doing standup when it’s been so long. At first I felt like my body was trying to do contact improv instead of sparring. Then it occurred to me that thinking of it in that way might help me to do less force-on-force (which is not productive for my body against 99% of normal people) and more moving around.