And you hold it down there long enough
As brooks that babble and birds that sing.
Three things will all your world compose-
Just you, the grindstone, and your darned old nose.
As we write, each of us has to believe our books are worth a tree. Or worthy of that tree. -Jane Yolen
Friday evening “women’s class” in Bellevue. Rolled with Doug a bit to warm up- always an honor.
Self defense- you on your back, attacker standing at your feet. Use right foot to kick hir left thigh to make hir step back with that foot. Then another kick, higher, followed by a technical life. I can’t specify which foot does the second kick, nor which butt cheek you have to be on when you begin the technical lift, nor which sole is planted on the floor for that, because I just could not compute. I had one of those left-vs-right brain spasms… which I can often correct after a few reps via a verbal script of “Right foot kick, left sole floor, hips right, right foot kick…” or whatever. Sometimes it just will not come- and the longer it will not come, the more frustrated I get, and frustration introduces enough white noise into my brain to ensure that I will *NEVER* get it.
I am convinced that I have some kind of bona fide proprioception disability- which fortunately appears to be isolated to a fairly narrow problem area- yet I wish I could tell Carlos (and my former kung fu teacher) that I have a BRAIN TUMOR or something; I really am not this STUPID, truly. But trying to explain proprioception to someone who could barely speak English four years ago is futile when most native English speakers can’t define the term. It makes me crazy when he hovers over me and tries to correct my errors while I’m having one of these fugues, but even worse is when he gets frustrated and walks off. Few things make me feel as lowly as feeling that I have disappointed my teachers.
Closed guard pass- stand up and grip pantleg down to shuck the leg- I have done this enough by now that the correct sleeve cuff control and the grip change upon standing feel mostly natural.
A little positional training, hold closed guard vs pass, rotating partners.
My final opponent was a teenager in whose closed guard I stood up and proceeded to do the Move Of The Day. As I pushed her leg down, her face contorted into a rictus of pain. “Are you all right????!!!? Are you all right???!!” She didn’t answer, just kept writhing and grimacing. I was freaking out- I hadn’t been rough or anything, but after concussing Crisanne last week (yes, I did actually give her a concussion *and* whiplash, she had to go to the doctor!), I immediately assumed that somehow I had broken the girl’s knee. And here comes Carlos….. is he going to toss me out of this school for injuring everyone????!?
Finally she started rolling up her pantleg. I waited to see the bloody broken shafts of bone poking through the mangled shin of her knee. And saw…. a big scab. Which apparently I had grabbed when I grabbed her pantleg.
I was relieved, but I also kind of wanted to smack her for 1)not telling me that she had a giant scab on her left knee so that I could avoid it, 2)failing to verbally reassure me quicker that she was not in fact dying, and 3)scaring the shit out of me.
Curious friend: “What is guard, what does that mean?”
Me: “It means I can kick your ass while I’m sitting on mine.” -Ginger Snaps
Thursday evening no-gi in Bellevue.
Carlos still called us “girls” a couple of times, but I think he was making a conscious effort and trying not to. 😉
I stupidly tried to put in my contacts in the car with too little light, and ended up losing one. It felt like it was still folded up in there, but I could not find the damn thing. I had to call Amy (she’s a nurse when she’s not kicking ass in the cage) off the mat to poke around in my eye, but she couldn’t find it either. I had to work blind. I still don’t know what happened to it. Eye is all swollen up…. hope I won’t have to go to the Urgent Care for this. At least I was able to do the class and then drive myself home.
Driving drills- pummelling, shoulder throws, armbars from mount, standing rear naked choke defense to takedown with shoulder lock to KOB. Drilling with Amy, you know you are going to work hard.
The shoulder throw ends with the thrower on both knees… I always want to cheat this because my knees hurt. Really need to get way UNDER opponent, and snug hir armpit right into you hard, then sort of meld into one with hir as you bow to the mat. Then you have to unmeld in time to not go over with hir, but move to KOB.
Carlos yelled at me for trying to cheerlead a white belt through her last set of armbars. Usually this is a thing he encourages, so I was confused and hurt. Two minutes later, he was sitting in a corner with his shirt pulled over his head. Turns out he had a massive migrane. I’m choosing to believe it was this that caused him to snap at me, and not that he hates me.
Four years ago- or even two years ago- this small event would have sent me into an epic spiral of self-hate and doubt and flagellation….. “Carlos yelled at me… he hates me….I can’t face him again….. I suck….did I really do something wrong? It’s probably because of that exchange we had last week about “girls” vs “women”…. that’s why he hates me…. was I out of line with that? I suck….. Was I rude and inappropriate to that white belt? Did I make her feel uncomfortable? Did I look like an ass in front of the whole class? Everybody hates me….. I hate myself….. I suck….. I can never face any of these people again…..” Yeah, stupid, I know. And yet. Welcome to the world of anxiety disorders. I don’t know if it’s being on meds, or feeling more comfortable with Carlos after five years, or just maturity- but I didn’t spiral too badly this time. I spiraled some. But not with the usual severity. And I made a point of facing him on Friday and asking if his head felt better, instead of slinking away because I was sure he hated me.
Friday women’s class: Same shoulder throw we did yesterday; another standing rear naked choke defense ending in a reap instead of the shoulder lock and pulling-to-floor; and the donkey-kick standing guard pass to KOB. I have done this donkey-kick thing enough now to know where my trouble issues are. It really needs to happen in 3 steps, not twenty because I am shuffling my feet around trying to get them in the correct position for the KOB. Getting it down to 3 steps requires beginning with the outside foot planted WAY out, not beside opponent’s body, it requires actually USING the push-and-bounceback of the shin on the opponent’s thigh instead of just going through the motions, and it requires HOPPING that outside foot in and donkeying the other leg back IN THE SAME MOTION. Once I get really focused, I can do it, but the stupid side is very stupid. The hunching over is also tough on my back.
On the last round of reap drill reps, Chrisanne’s breakfall was less than optimal, and she got her chimes rung pretty bad. I felt terrible. I have quit treating her like an egg and usually go about 85% on her, but I may need to backpedal and be a little more gentle. Of course, she tried to get right up and continue, but Carlos and Doug and I told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to just lie there for a minute. They put me with Christy, who is training for Pans, and churning out guard pass reps like a damn machine. I was in awe, and said so. Her throws are also painful. I didn’t take any bad falls like Chrisanne did, but drilling two complete throws in one class to the extent that we did was a bit much. Just a lot of constant brain jarring. My head ached all night and still aches this morning. I had to take an ibuprofen, which I almost never do. I pinged Chrisanne to make sure she was alive, and she is. After she had refused my offer of a ride home, I had quizzed her on concussion symptoms, and made her promise that if she had any, she would ask her son’s girlfriend to drive her to the Urgent Care. I know this isn’t really my fault (or at least MOSTLY not my fault), but I still feel awful. Chrisanne had a terrible week at work, and I put the cherry on top by almost giving her a concussion. (And not that this is important- weighted beside giving Chrisanne a concussion- but it did cross my mind that this incident is not going to do anything good for Carlos’ apparent view of me as a reckless, dangerous Godzilla on the mat.)
My head ached too much to consider the all-levels class that came after this one- even if I’d had the energy, which I don’t think I did.
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.
Risk assessment is probably the most valuable skill in communicating with the altered mental state. A mentally ill person may or may not be more dangerous than anyone else. But they may be more dangerous and they are certainly less predictable. –Rory Miller
OMG, I am so sore.
Even though I was tired after lunchtime class, I went to Bellevue to evening class because Chrisanne and Lindsay were going to be there. Horribly, I ended up rejecting poor Lindsay AGAIN for drilling. I apologized a million times…. I am just so paranoid about keeping Chrisanne away from the spazzy assholes, and Lindsey has much better skills at this point for protecting herself against spazzy assholes. I suggested that the two of them drill together and I would find someone else, but Lindsay ended up drilling with Peter (who is not spazzy asshole, BTW).
I should note that that tall white belt guy I sparred with on Thursday turned out to be on Chrisanne’s “Spazzy Asshole” list. I didn’t have that bad of a time with him, but I had played spider guard to keep him off my ribs. When I gave him the pre-spar “don’t kill me, I’m old” speil, he was like, “But you’re a PURPLE belt.” Me: “I still do not have enough skills at this point to counteract strong young guys who are much bigger, so BE CAREFUL.” Turns out that when Chrisanne gave him her speil, he did the same to her: “But you’re a blue belt” and then went on to smash her. She won’t roll with him any more. I was glad to hear that she was both giving the speech and keeping a Red List… both things that I had to talk to her a LOT about over the last two years. I am relieved that she is being assertive about boundaries. I still worry constantly about who she is rolling with and whether she is safe.
Drills….. standup, judo grip to failed single leg to rear clinch; judo grip to single leg setup. Note that this particular one involved pinching opponent’s leg between one’s knees.
Standing guard pass to a squat at opponent’s hip, pressing far knee to the floor and trapping near leg atop your own thigh. This was similar to what we did last week- and also similarly, it was all about having that thigh well pinned, ABOVE the knee. We then did a variation on this, starting with a spider guard and ending with a lapel grip. In this case, it was necessary to consciously shoot that arm OVER the THIGH and then pin that thigh there with the elbow. As soon as you start getting tired and sloppy with these drills, the first thing to go is the most important thing- pinning that thigh.
Drills with enough speed and repetition that I truly thought I was going to lose my dinner.
At the end, I felt like a crushed pop can, but I had driven all the way in here to be able to play with Chrisanne and Lindsay. I also rolled with Casey a bit. Tonight I did not allow myself to lie under bottom half guard with Lindsay… forced myself to keep moving and try different things. Unfortunately this ended with me tapping to a mounted triangle. But I really do need to not lie there in bottom half guard.
I was reflecting on the road today (lots of commuting time) that my focus on self-defensive martial arts is probably a large reason why I am so reluctant to work outside my safety zone. In sport martial arts, if you take a risk and lose, you lose a medal. In defensive MA, if you take a risk and lose, you’re DEAD. Rory Miller talks a lot about how people freeze up and do other unhelpful things that they have learned to respond with, simply for the reason that doing so has not killed them yet. I need to continue to force myself to- at the very least- not lie there on the bottom.
My sparring performance was not up to this afternoon’s performance, which I had expected (exhaustion combined with the persistant phenomenon of every single bout of “Hey, I was decent” to be immediately followed by a bout of “I suck” just to keep me humble). However, I was pleased that I kept sparring for that long after doing a class that almost made me puke. Right up until….
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I did it AGAIN…. I rolled my goddam left ankle out. And I did it the exact same way I did it the last two times this happened: by trying to do a standing guard pass to the left when I was really tired, and I put my foot down and rolled it outward. Lord, it hurt. I collapsed on the mat, and Lindsay got me some ice. After about 5 min I was able to get up, and am now walking with only a tiny limp- but we’ll see what it’s like in the morning. I am really frustrated that I keep doing this, but at least it was on the last class before my work rotation starts. If this had happened Thurs lunchtime, I would have been SUPER pissed. As it is, hopefully I will be reasonably sound by next class on Thursday. I do need to really set a mental flag on that play, though: when I go to do a standing guard pass on the left when I’m tired, I need to pay really close attention to how I set my foot on the floor as well as how I transfer weight onto that foot. I am really tired of this particular recurring injury.
The duelist is interested in winning, in maintaining honor. The professional (criminal) is interested in killing, as quickly and efficiently as possible. –Rory Miller
Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.
White belt #1: “How’s your knee doing?”
White belt #2: “It’s a little better now, but yesterday I wrenched the &#^$ out of my elbow……”
Kitsune: “Welcome to Jiu Jitsu, where you repeatedly acquire a new injury before your previous injury has healed. You will never be healthy again.”
To their credit, they seemed psyched by this instead of troubled. Those are the types that might stick it out.
Standup, judo grips. Take your foot on the side that you’re gripping the LAPEL (and note that in this technique you want a deep, back-of-the-neck grip), and cross it so that you whack opponent’s opposite shin with your instep. Stomp the foot to the floor between hir feet, turn, and jerk partner off balance with the gi grips. You are shoving hir down with the lapel grip and pulling hir toward you with a twist using the sleeve grip. (I love these takedowns that involve twisting the person so that the back of their shoulder is forced toward the floor.) Now kick your heel up (the same active foot that you were using before) and displace the leg. If your jerk was effective, the opponent’s weight should be on that leg and s/he should go down as if poleaxed.
If this does not work, follow up by shoving opponent away from you while you use the same active foot to shoot out and inward-hook opponent’s OTHER leg.
Ideally you want to have control of that knee as s/he lands on hir back. I had to ask Prof Herbert which grip to release in order to do that. You release the lapel grip and grab for the inside of the knee pantleg grip. I guess it was a good question, as he then chose to build upon the technique thusly:
Now that you have the person on the ground on hir back with one knee between your knees, and you have an elbow grip (on the outside) and a pantleg grip (inside of knee)….. donkey-kick that inside leg out and go to KOB.
Next: opponent turns in to you and pushes on your knee. Now armbar.
Chrisanne and I discovered that doing the takedown on one’s stupid side- while not very much more difficult- resulted in the opponent having a MUCH harder time both staying balanced as well as being able to do anything helpful while falling. This would only be true of right-handed people, presumably. But the difference was marked enough that it would be reasonable to make a concerted effort to drill this on the dumb side.
One roll with Chrisanne and one with that flexible blue belt guy (I really need to remember his name….) I got a choke on him that he was very admiring of. Many people have been praising me a lot lately. It doesn’t seem to be having any effect at all on my poor self-appraisal.
The more peaceful a group, the easier they are to victimize. –Rory Miller
Two doses of drills, lunchtime and evening. Gordon was teaching. Since he is doing Monkey Bar Gym as well as training pretty much 24/7, he never gets tired. His warmups are brutal. As usual, partway through the warmups for class #2, my body and brain were both commenting, “This was a dumb-ass idea.” However, I was not nauseous at the end, even though it was as hot as it’s been the last few weeks. That’s a relief.
Pick-your-own-takedowns, 3 min per partner. Followed by pick-your-own-sweeps, pick-your-own-passes. Wash, rinse, repeat.
A few spars at the end of each class. In the evening I got completely disassembled by that tiny little elderly brand new blue belt. Jesus. Gotta hand it to him. I really hope he sticks with it.
Still having significant pain whenever I kneel on my knee at a certain angle- both of them. This is from the falling-down-the-stairs incident which was like a month ago. I’m starting to wonder if I chipped off a couple of bone frags in there or something. That ankle that I rolled out a long time ago is functioning fine now, but I still get a little flutter of worry in my belly whenever I come down hard on it and it’s not perfectly aligned. Getting old sucks.
Self-defense is far more difficult emotionally than physically. The mechanics, in other words, are simpler and for most people easier than the will aspects. –Rory Miller
Saturday no-gi in Kirkland.
Partner drills- hip-ups, armbars from guard, pummelling.
Arm drags from standing, take the back. Partner pushes down your 2nd arm as it comes around, steps out with hip thrust, turn to face you.
You in butterfly guard, partner on knees. You arm drag and scoot under to deep half. KEEP THE ARM (this was my error). Hook the foot and move shin out. This torques the person’s knee and makes them unlikely to argue when you pull them into back mount.
Same entry, this time you post and brace forearm across hir collarbone. Scoot butt out a bit. Bring foot (on the opposite side as you have the armbrace) underneath and hook toe on the outside of opponent’s knee. Swim your armbrace to underhook as you place your forehead against the collarbone instead. Plow forehead into opponent’s chin (this sucks mightily to be on the recieving end of, and distracts you from protesting the rest of the technique) as you grab hir tricep to keep hir from posting and butterfly sweep her to front mount.
KOTH from back mount. I was sucking so badly here today, badly enough for Cindy to notice and get disgusted with me. I recieved a long lecture on my persistant 1)failure to mount any offense, and 2)insistance on being too nice to my partners to the point that I am not doing the techniques correctly out of reluctance to discomfit them. This discussion was accompanied by tactile learning aids in the form of a brutal elbow to the breastbone that forced some embarrassing sounds from me. I was informed that I do not need to be nice to Pedro or Aussie Dave, who both assured me smilingly that this is true. Aussie Dave is just one of the downright sweetest people I know, and my mind quails from the image of me grinding my forearm into his throat.
One spar with Aussie Dave, then I watched Cindy roll with Jill. I yelled at Jill that this was no-gi and she had to let go of Cindy’s pants. For the rest of the roll, she kept grabbing pants and then letting go like she’d been burned, squawking in dismay, “No pants! I forgot! No pants!”
Ankle is a little worse today. It seemed to be doing reasonably okay on Thursday, but it did not like Friday or Saturday training. I can still see visible swelling. Must dig out ankle brace.
Get in shape. It makes you look less like a victim, plus it also makes life more fun. Your own body is the best toy you will ever have. It’s more fun tuned up. –Rory Miller
Typical. Skip one class, gain over a pound and a half. Ankle’s better today, though, Still ugly, but I can walk down stairs without having to take them one at a time and pause on each one.
Thursday evening “advanced” class in Bellevue.
A few minutes of drills: you on your back, partner standing and holding your knees. Get up (correctly) and segue into a takedown. Note that getting up “correctly” usually involves lead foot penetrated deeply between opponent’s feet.
The rest of the class was a series of 8 minute spars with rotating partners.
I started with Peter, and we agreed to go light and easy because of my ankle. We flow rolled, and that was perfect to ease back in. Shrimping on the bad side was- bad, but I didn’t have any other major issues today. I was careful, and asked all my partners to be careful.
Nadine- found out that she is a judo practitioner, which explains a lot.
Chris was there, it was very nice to see him after a long time.
Many people train and prepare by walking along the way of the warrior, but never discover- or maybe just forget- what battle they have been training for. The battle rages in front of their eyes and they don’t realize it. The small psychodramas of daily life distract them to the point of taking away their global vision and making them forget why they set out walking the warrior’s path in the first place. Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path
Evening BJJ in Bellevue. It has been a long time since I did a Too-fer. It makes Carlos so happy. He made a huge deal out of it.
Jumped on Daniel before class and rolled around with him a little, then Ross.
Same things we were doing this morning. Unfortunately, as I started to get tired on Round Deux of the rapid fancy footwork, I got sloppy (as so often happens). As I dodged to the left and put my foot down, the ankle rolled out. I have done exactly this before. I really need to pay good conscious attention to my tendency to do these things when I get tired.
I have done worse, but it hurts. I had to stop and writhe around on the mat for a while, holding my foot, while Carlos jumped in to finish the drill set with my partner. I was then able to continue, but had to opt out of sparring at the end. I was annoyed at having driven all the way back into Bellevue and not being able to spar, especially when I am trying to drop a couple pounds. I had also been hoping to get in some more hiking this weekend. Now I’m not sure if I’ll even be able to do any classes tomorrow. I won’t really know how bad it is till morning.
I was drilling with a little bitty blue belt that I have never seen before- Nadine. She can’t be any bigger than Chrisanne. But what a fierce little pixie. She was kicking my ass. I gave up three or four taps to her during the positional sparring. I was being careful to not use weight or strength on her; her technique was (mostly) good, and I just didn’t feel like escalating. My ego only whined a little bit… and only because it seemed like Carlos and Herbert were both standing right there watching us much of the time. Carlos actually stopped us at one point to tell her to back off on the elbow/forearm grinding into my ear and face.
I got this note from Chrisanne:
“You are a very thoughtful, aware training partner. You teach me, you push me, you make me work to be the best I can. That’s why I like working with you.”
Wow. That feels great.