Uphill, then downhill.

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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.

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Ees THAT how eet’s done?

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During the rapid improvement period in skill learning, students are motivated by their rate of improvement. Their desire to learn is created by the success that they achieve. Concentration and commitment are facilitated by the rapid rate of technical development. However, once the rate of learning begins to slow down, it requires much more effort on the part of both the student and coach to maintain the attention and work rate. Eventually the leveling off of improvement begins to have a negative effect on the learning environment, which can bring about a reduction in performance. Tony Gummerson, “Teaching Martial Arts”

Two mile walk.

Thurs afternoon gi in Bellevue.

Double-leg setups.

Standup, with judo grips: let go of lapel grip and fake a grab at the leg to make opponent step back. Then you pull guard.

Same entry, only now opponent tosses elbow when you try to place your rt foot on hir bicep. Drop that foot to hir hip (heel OUT!) Move right hand to (cross) grip opponent’s right sleeve cuff. catch hir rt heel with your other hand. Drop your left leg on the mat to hook behind hir other leg. If s/he fails to let go of your lapel, s/he will do most of the work of pulling you up so that you can jump on top.

This is a sweet sweep, but the number of steps is daunting. If I try to go too fast, I start skipping pieces (usually the hooking foot behind the second leg).

As you roll up out of this, keep opponent’s foot trapped with your feet. Don’t let hir bend the leg, unless you want to end up in half guard. This leg trap can turn into a nice kneebar. Of course Carlos walked over and looked at me just as I discovered this. “Ees THAT how eet’s done, Keetsune? Like THAT?” “Uh, no, no sir, that is NOT how it’s done! No sir, no!”

Positional sparring, spider guard, pass vs prevent pass… then King Of the Hill, same exercise. I was fortunate enough to avoid the two big spazzy white belt guys who were flinging purple belts around trying to dislodge spider guard positions with the Captain Caveman Technique. Note that the pass where you change direction and move in backwards like you’re going to sit on their face doesn’t work on Mischa. Tried it twice and failed miserably both times. What DID work on him was a fine strategy of body-surfing versus hanging heavy while he was elevating me and trying to maneuver me into a bad position. I couldn’t stop him from picking me up, but by a couple of strategic postings and by playing sandbag at the right moments, I ended up causing him to inadvertantly maneuver me right into side control, ha ha.

Armbar Alley

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You will not be the one to drown me. –Maggie Stiefvater

Friday evening in Bellevue. Started with sneaking up behind Luiz and taking his back while he was chatting with someone else. He passively let me sink an RNC and take him down, but an instant later, I found myself tapping out to a kimura.

JP tried to bait me into passing his guard and falling right into one of those traps where you basically sub yourself like an idiot. I stopped dead, and we just froze there for a long moment. Then I said, “Dude, I roll with Ron and Doug. I know EXACTLY what you are trying to do here, and you are NOT going to get me with that!!!” He laughed.

Standup: judo grips, pretend to go for an outside reap. Let opponent reap you back, and nail hir with an armbar. Discovered that this was one of the cases in which the Stupid Side turned out to be the best side, because it involved one of the key pieces in the middle of the process being deployed with my dominant arm. Said key piece: keep a really leech-like grip on the underside of the sleeve at the elbow the whole time. That is the lynchpin to adjusting everything where you want it to finish the armbar.

Armbars from mount.

I coached Chrisanne extensively on armbar technique early on in her learning, and as a result- if I may say so myself- she has one fucking tight armbar. From every angle, she is tight and perfect and deadly. My own armbar still needs a bit of refinement in remembering to pinch the knees together- that is the one detail that I tend to forget and get sloppy on. We pushed each other a bit in the later reps by having the uke try to escape by pulling the elbow down, or by pressing her back to the floor under the mount. In the later case, pinching the knees together to trap the victim with hir shoulder pointing to the ceiling becomes critical. And there’s that leech-grip on the arm again- only this time it really needs to be on the tricep- and grab the muscle, not just the gi sleeve. I found that I had more success if I quit messing around and go faster. I always do well at grabbing that arm and yanking them up hard enough to make their teeth snap, but then I am too slow finishing- and I need to just finish that puppy off before they recover from that yank and start wiggling to escape.

I like drilling these armbars…. I don’t really use them much live yet, but I want to. I can curl into such a compact ball that I know they will be really good for me. But I hate drilling them as the uke. I spend too much time getting clubbed painfully in the face, especially the nose. With the armbars from mount, I can place my free palm on top of my head, stick my elbow out, and shield my face from getting whacked by the foe’s heel. The armbars that are coming from the bottom, you’re hosed because you can’t protect your face. I just know that a broken nose from this technique is in my future; I can’t believe it hasn’t happened yet. I have a big nose, which appearance will not be improved by a couple of badly healed breaks. Also, the technique makes me very nervous due to how little it takes to finish it, and the high opportunity for slamming/cranking which will result in a very rapid elbow/shoulder injury. I always tap to these early, and with much haste.

I wanted to roll with Casey, but I had a little headache, so I decided to leave.

Welcome to jiu jitsu.

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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.

Maybe not “everyone”, but at least one person….

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An assertive examination of the threat- not glaring in his eyes, but scanning and noting his stance, possible weapons and where his hands are- will help to discourage the threat. He must see you scanning and evaluating. It sends a signal. Simultaneously, check yourself. Make sure your hands are free and any weapons you have are accessible. Scan for the threat’s possible confederates and keep the threat in your peripheral vision. An experienced threat will notice you doing this and will have to move you into a different class of potential victim, preferably out of the victim category altogether. –Rory Miller

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue under Prof. Doug.

Outside reap setups. Remembering that collar grip needs to be higher. Also, pushing with that fist against the jaw or neck makes a big difference. After not-gonna-admit-how-many years, it feels a little like I’m starting to coordinate the whole push/pull thing. A little.

Triangles from closed guard, transitioning through butterfly and a half-spider to get there.

Rolls with Christie, Prof Sean, Kevin, and a white belt guy that I know from Kirkland but his name escapes me.

Christie got two stripes on her belt tonight. She’s been working really hard, coming to a lot of classes, and doing great.

She also told me- after drilling- “I’m so happy when you come!” which gave me a warm fuzzie.

Hike!

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It is better to avoid than to run, better to run than to de-escalate, better to de-escalate than to fight, better to fight than to die. –Rory Miller

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Back-and-forth single-leg setups, judo grips. We all got reprimanded for not having the collar grip hand high enough. If you let it slide down to opponent’s chest (and this is easy to do after a Brazilian reps, even if you started out with a nice high grip), they can wristlock you.

Standing spider guard pass drills

Standing guard pass to KOB to spinning armbar

I grabbed John to drill with, but Carlos took him away from me and gave me Danny (which was fine), then took HIM away from me and gave me Pedro, which was less fine. Pedro is about 13, and has been here long enough to learn good pressure and some wicked subs but not long enough to learn the concept of drilling (ie, let your partner execute the drill), or that you need to be careful how hard you thump down on the ribcage of a classmate old enough to be your mother.

King of the Hill from standing up in opponent’s guard

Rotating short spars with many people, starting from butterfly guard.

After class, a two hour hike up a mountain and back down again. Including the copious stairs of a very tall fire lookout tower at the top. I did fine on the way up, but coming down is hell on my patello-femoral sydrome knees. They are gonna be screaming in the morning. But holy cow there is a lot of gorgeous scenery up here. And hiking is such good exercise. Especially when you take along a trash bag and pick up the garbage that utter and complete assholes insist on throwing all over a beautiful piece of nature when they come to visit.

When I got home, there was additional heart-racing cardio in store when I saw a sheriff parked in my driveway. Turns out the alarm in my garage had gone off- but we found no signs of an intruder, so it appears to have been a false alarm.