The Dog Workout

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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.)

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Chicken wing

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It is important that when a new activity is being introduced, the practices that immediately precede it are well known to the student and the general movement pattern is similar to the new skill. The advantage of this strategy is that the student is confident in his own ability and has a starting point to work from. Having an existing frame of reference makes any demonstration or presentation of a new technique all the more effective for the student, because he can quickly relate it to his own existing range of skills. With similar movement patterns, the rate of learning is much faster than with different ones, because part of the skill is already known. Tony Gummerson, “Teaching Martial Arts”

Thurs lunchtime in Bellevue.

All five-minute flow rolls, rotating partners. Chrisanne points out that this is more aerobic than ACTUAL rolls.

Fri Evening in Bellevue. Carlos made Chrisanne and I split up and work with white belts. It was also Pick-On-Kitsune Night…. he was all up in my grill criticizing all my details. I know that this is a good thing- it helps me get all the little kinks out of my technique, and I am also aware that if he didn’t care about my progress, he wouldn’t bother to nitpick at me… but it does give me the Performance Anxiety Sweaties. If he picks on me too much, I start panicking and getting really frustrated and frantic and sloppy. Note: two or three times recently, Carlos has looked at my technique and indicated displeasure, leading me to ask, “What am I doing wrong?” He doesn’t like that word. It’s not wrong, it’s an opportunity to improve. Anyway- need to find a different phrasing to ask what the problem is (I’ll bet he won’t like “problem” either… okay, I need to ponder that….)

Standup: judo grips. Moving around. Stop with feet square to opponent. Let go of elbow grip. Grab your own lapel and jerk your torso to the side to free opponent’s grip (do NOT step back, and do not turn so far that you are facing away from the enemy). Slide your lapel hand down and place your free hand above it. Jerk opponent downward. S/he will try to posture up. Step in with the foot that is on the same side as your grips. Use the hand on the OPPOSITE side to grab the leg. Lots of places here for me to get confused with right/left.

Armbars from mount. When I do these, I like to put my hand on the mat on the same side of the head as the arm I’m attacking, yank the person aggressively up on hir shoulder, and pin hir there with my knees. Carlos made me place my hand on the opposite side of the head as the arm I’m attacking (which makes me feel off balance, leaning there with my arms crossed) and leave hir back on the mat. This is very different from what I am used to doing. Also (and I didn’t remember this until afterward), I continue to be sloppy about pinching my knees together on the arm.

This was new: From mount, you try to do the armbar and the opponent defends by wrapping the arm around your hip/waist. You trap the arm between your bicep and thigh. Note that the arm must stay bent to finish this. I had to mess around a bit to find the right angles, but it’s essentially a kimura. If it isn’t working, you can scoop your arm back and chicken-wing the opponent’s arm out further. Or do a wrist lock.

One great, competitive roll with Chrisanne. I was working hard to keep her out of turtle; and she got me in side control a few times, but I was trying mightily to stop that as well. This forced us both out of our customary games and made us both try some new things, which was exciting.

no-gi butterfly sweeps

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If we can switch the odds in our favor by changing our appearance or demeanor instead of fighting, it increases our survival. And this is all about survival. Campfire Tales From Hell

Thursday evening no-gi in Bellevue. Chrisanne was not there, and there were enough big white belts that I took the cautionary step of asking Sean to drill with me.

Pummelling, double-leg setups, failed double-leg to backtake, mutual neck-and-bicep grips to backtake (Sean suggests that I pull down on the neck, which I had not been doing, and yeah- that works better).

Same kimura from guard that we did last week. I was very very glad that I had asked Sean to work with me. I need a big white belt yanking on my rotator cuff like I need…. well, a torn rotator cuff.

Butterfly sweep.

Then, butterfly sweep that fails due to opponent sticking hir leg out. Underhook the thigh, hook your toe around hir far ankle, and sweep the opposite way. This was working fine for me, but for some reason Sean was struggling with it. I was sure that the issue was that he wasn’t getting deep enough underneath- I could feel my center of gravity lower than his, and when I was doing the technique, I didn’t even try to push him over until I had wiggled UNDER his COG. Then Carlos came over to troubleshoot and had us do something COMPLETELY different- which involved pincering the opponent’s leg between yours, stretching hir out, then rolling. I didn’t think that was going to work with my short legs, but surprisingly it did (of course, Sean’s legs aren’t the longest in the room…)

Several short rounds of positional sparring, mostly from butterfly guard, rotating partners: sweep vs defend, sweep vs pass, pass vs open guard only, a few others. There was **NO** dry area anywhere on the mat, and it was like a greased pig contest. I was not doing too great…. but I was very impressed with how good Amy is getting.

Was happy that I had both the balance and the upper-body strength to hoist myself up on top of the highest section of the retaining wall so that I could cut some blackberry brambles. I’m figuring that someday I will no longer be able to do stuff like this. Today is not that day.

Why are white belts so self-conscious about sucking?

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In any incident, your first line of defense is your observation skills and instinctual feeling or intuition. Do not discount how important these are to your life, whether in fighting or getting along at work. Campfire Tales From Hell

Friday evening in Bellevue. I skipped Thurs because my tattoo is still stinging. I skipped tonight’s sparring for the same reason. I really wanted to get on the mat, but after the techniques and drills, the left half of my back felt like I was being roasted over a slow fire. It didn’t help when Chrisanne gave me a comradely slap on the back RIGHT on the most sore spot. I whimpered, and Carlos happened to be standing right there to see it. 😛

Warmup roll with Casey.

While we were doing that, a white belt who was jus finishing up the Monkey Bar Gym session was dithering about staying for the BJJ. We encouraged her, but she was like, “I suck, I really suck BAD…” Why do white belts get so self-conscious about sucking? Of course you suck! You’re a white belt! I informed her that we all suck; if we didn’t, there would be no reason to be here because we would already know everything.

As we were running warmup laps, I was following Casey and Casey was following Lance, who is quite a bit bigger than both me and Casey put together. Casey commented wryly, “I feel like I’m chasing a bear!” and I simply could not stop laughing for a really long time.

Pummelling (ow)

Butterfly guard sweep (ow)

Carlos wants me to crawl up higher in front mount and pinch my knees together. Chrisanne moaned when I pinched my knees together on her ribs, so I guess that’s good advice.

Note that if you do not want to front mount your foe after butterfly sweeping hir, you can keep hold of the near arm, do a low-to-the-mat technical lift type maneuver to get yourself belly-down, and end in side control with that arm trapped straight out down your linea alba. Nice position to get a little Shoulder Of Justice in while you’re there.

Opponent defends butterfly sweep by bringing hir arm to the inside and pushing against your chest. Grab that arm by the wrist, yank it down to your belly button, and sweep hir the OTHER way. Note that for me, this does not work at ALL on the stupid side. Way too weak and unbalanced-feeling.

Kimura from guard. Make sure to get leg high up in opponent’s armpit (this is a chronic problem for me in this technique as well as a few similar ones) and close the guard. Carlos adjusted Chrisanne’s knees in a way that made me groan “Ohgod, that sucks.” and they both started cracking up. Carlos: “I love to hear that.” Chrisanne says, “Good, then I will keep doing it like that!” Carlos reprimaded me for doing a hip escape. Just stay where you are and be forceful with that leg. If you are assertive, the Bad Guy does a face plant on the mat. Carlos points out that for best results, you want a push-pull action- namely, keep hir arm straight and push it up as you force hir shoulder down.

Thursday X2

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Make your attacker advance through a wall of bullets. You may get killed with your own gun, but he’ll have to beat you to death with it, cause it’s going to be empty. -Clint Smith

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Copious drills. Single-legs (Carlos reprimanded me for repeatedly flinging Chrisanne against the wall. I informed him that the wall is a weapon. He was not amused.). Kimuras from closed guard. Cross collar chokes from closed guard.

About a million rounds of closed guard pass vs sweep. Sweeps continue to be the weakest part of my game. Didn’t get a single one. Got some passes.

One roll with Chrisanne.

Evening BJJ in Kirkland. I am trying to make an appearance in Kirkland once in a while, even if I can’t make it on Cindy’s days. On Thurs evenings it’s “basics” in there, which is often a little easier for me to deal with that the “advanced” in Bellevue, when you’re talking two classes in one day. It also starts half an hour earlier, which lets me get home a little sooner.

Tonight I definitely coasted a bit. Dave is getting over some respiratory funk, so did not challenge me as he usually does (no coasting when you’re rolling with Dave). I was working with a brand new girl white belt who couldn’t even make it through the entire drill session.

Pummelling. Cross collar choke from closed guard (cranking the person to the side a bit to facilitate the choke… like this detail. Was not able to do it on stupid side, dammit.). Basic guard pull from standing. Guard pull to armbar from guard. Guard pull to failed armbar from guard, to triangle.

One roll with a tall white belt guy. Armbarred him and RNC’ed him.

Kimura clinic

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A warrior is a master at facing conflicts, and conflict is what stands between us and the fulfillment of our desires. Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Short roll with Peter to warm up.

Kimura clinic! Prof. Herbert informed us that Sakuraba, the “Gracie Hunter”, used this to beat a whole bunch of Gracies and break the arm of one of them. Booyah. I was happy to be drilling with Lindsay and not some spazzy white belt.

Opponent tries to double leg you from standing, you sprawl, s/he switches to single-leg, you slide your hand over hir shoulder blade and down into hir armpit (“Armpit” being the English word lesson of the day for Prof. Herbert), kimura. If the opponent tries to roll out of it, you just follow hir to the floor and finish it there. The positioning of this is still not instinctual to me and I continue to flounder a bit.

Same entry, only YOU are now the one doing the failed double leg, and opponent hugs you around the torso. You must note which hand s/he has on top, since that is the side you want to attack. Get your kimura grip and then fall on the hip nearest opponent. This will force hir to summersault. You are now in a T position with hir head on your ribs. The prof pointed out that this is a neck-cranking position that you can get in trouble for in gi. Just roll belly down and hop over opponent’s face, and you will be on top to finish. I have never done this technique before, and it was fairly complex, and kimuras have always been a bit tricky for me- yet I recieved a “Perfect” comment from the prof. Wowza.

Opponent bear-hugs you under arms from the back. Again, you must note which of hir hands is on top because that’s the side you want to target. Place both your hands on top of hirs, shove them down to your hips, and get kimura grip while rotating hips violently sideways to get the extra room.

Same, only now you are on your knees. As you turn your hips and grab the kimura, open your knee to the outside on that same side. your toe should be behind opponent’s foot. Now, as you roll onto your back, you can butterfly-sweep opponent over your head and continue the roll so that you land on top to finish the kimura. Herbert’s first performance of this wonderous thing prompted a spontaneous exclamation of “Holy CRAP” from me.

A few rolls with Lindsey. We both got a few taps. I always feel good after rolling with her.

Lindsey was impressed with the Tahiti Sunrise colors on my right knee (which are only getting worse as I continue to do single- and double-legs and other knee-grinding grappling drills). The knees hurt (especially the right), but I am able to function.

Tripod sweep

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Changing the world has nothing to do with altruism or with trying to be a good Samaritan. Ultimately, since everything is connected, helping others inevitably means helping ourselves. At the highest level, there is no difference between egoism and altruism. It is a karmic ping-pong game. All our actions come back to us. Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday lunchtime BJJ at Kirkland.

Tripod sweep: Begin in standup with judo grips. Step on opponent’s hip on the side that you control hir elbow. Drop to back, swing free leg out, bring it back in and place on opponent’s other hip. Now: remove your first foot and stick it between opponent’s feet. Trip that foot while you grab the other heel. As s/he falls, let the momentum pull you up, take side control.

I like this sweep- it’s so technically beautiful- but I have always struggled with it because there is so much going on at once. That one hand grip remains, so that’s easy- but you have the other three limbs doing three different things, and it has to be simultaneous and smooth. I think this is one of those things that’s not really going to click for me until I get a few more levels up, and can see the big picture logic instead of stressing about which leg to hook and which hip to be on.

Same setup, only now the opponent steps hir foot back when you try to grab the heel. Quickly scoot up so that you’re sitting on hir foot and hugging hir shin with the INSIDE arm. Fold your legs to the outside. You can post with the free hand- you don’t have to try to hang onto hir. Fold hir leg inward and move to side control.

For both of these techniques, a familiar problem arose- I continue to let go of the far pantleg. If I can remember to keep that, it will prevent hir from scooting either into me to replace guard or away from me to escape.

Third technique: pull guard from standing, yank opponent down on chest, when s/he postures up, go with hir and either kimura or situp sweep. Dave points out that I am not assertive enough about controlling the opponent’s arm. I tend to get fixated on trying to haul my elderly butt up far enough to bear the opponent’s trunk down, and I fail to grab the arm firmly enough, pull it deep enough, or clasp it close enough. Sometimes I forget to grab it at all.

This was an exhausting class because of all the up-down-up-down-up-down. Dave is a great partner, always encouraging when he sees I’m getting tired.

A little KOTH from standing- try to pull guard. Whomever succeeds them tries to sweep or submit, while the pull-ee tries to pass.

I was too exhausted physically and mentally to spar afterward.

I registered for Proving Grounds, in my usual bracket even though I’m right on the edge and have only 1 week to make sure I make weight. I almost registered one weight class up just to be safe, but that one was 135-155. I really do not want to fight 155-lb people. Although it probably won’t matter, we will almost certainly be combined anyway.

Move your head.

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Stopping violence or potential violence is a separate issue from “justice”- motive and mental competency are keys to determining the level of criminal culpability, but are irrelevant to whether someone must be stopped before they hurt somebody. –Rory Miller

Thurs “advanced” class in Bellevue. This turned out to be a combined class- Prof Carlos is at Worlds, I think…. Prof Jamie taught us.

Cross collar choke from guard, Kimura from guard, situp sweep from guard, hip throws, pulling guard from standing, pulling guard from standing and then transitioning to armbar. I was working in a trio with Nadine and Chrisanne, and was able to give them some good hints and feedback (such as, MOVE YOUR HEAD TO THE SIDE before you swipe someone’s posting arms off your belly and yank them down on your chest in closed guard). As amusing as it can be to watch white belts bash their foreheads together, I just don’t have the heart.

Positional sparring from closed guard and spider guard.

One spar with Casey and a couple with Chrisanne. Chrisanne was working tighter tonight. I did have to remind her to assertively jump on me right off the fist bump instead of sitting back on her haunches and waiting meekly to get shoved to the mat. But she was feeling really heavy on top tonight, and doing a good job controlling all my parts so that I couldn’t effectively get out of her scarf or side control.

I will unfortunately be missing Friday evening class- my cat is having surgery tomorrow, and I will have to stay home in the evening and keep an eye on him. I’m all out of good library books, and most of my PSG packing is finished- so maybe I will actually get a little writing done? Made another batch of cat food last night with the tape player going- the stirring of the creative juices put an intriguing new scene into my mind. Need to stay out of the kitchen, at any rate- especially with the missed class. I’m going to have to be really careful if I want to make weight for next weekend. I’m right on the edge. My fridge is full of eggs, but all I want is pizza!

It’s illegal

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Stealing from the gods the fire of passion and creativity to lighten our life is just the first step of the trip, not the destination. Passion and creativity are not our private property, not our very own toys. They are the sparks lighting the fire of a big tribal camp. Having talent and not cultivating it is a crime, but cultivating it without sharing its fruits with others may be even worse. In its highest form, the way of the warrior is that of the bodhisatva: putting one’s talent at the service of a superior destiny. Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Lunchtime no-gi at Kirkland.

Some pummelling, some double leg setups. The double leg setups we were doing today…. 1)begin with feet square so as not to telegraph. 2)begin at very close range. 3) from pummel, make sure you trap or duck under opponent’s wrist on that side when you drop. 4)Step FAR in. I never step far enough. Foot should be between opponent’s feet and BEHIND them. 5)placement of the OTHER foot is eternally problematic for me. I tend to step *too* far forward with that one, and also too close to opponent. (See how I have exact opposite problems with each foot? Welcome to my world.) The hand placement, the upright back, and the head pressure I seemed to be doing (mostly) right this time (note this is about the eight millionth time Cindy has gone over this technique on a personal and intensive level with me).

Keylocks from front mount. I was corrected for failing to use the thumbless “monkey paw” grip. Also for not having the elbow close enough to the opponent’s head. When jumping from low grapevining front mount to high mount in the armpits, move more quickly. Pull the head off the mat to keep opponent from bridging.

If opponent joins hands to defend the keylock, go to kimura grip. I need to focus on keeping opponent’s arm folded firmly. S mount. Take the foot closest to opponent’s head and fold the shin back along hir back. Pull opponent’s head and shoulders into your lap. This rolls hir over your shin, which you can now use to pin hir arm. Opponent is now in a triangle, facing away from you, with hir head and shoulders in your lap. Choke way up to right under hir armpit- you do not want opponent’s ribs inside this triangle. Now you can let go of the kimura grip and grab your own ankle as you post on the mat with your other hand. Readjust the triangle so that your shin is shoved horizontally right under opponent’s chin. Now you have to scoot yourself all the way around hir head until you are lying on your side and can grab one of opponent’s legs.

This particular technique makes me very, very relieved that Dave is now usually the demo dummy. This one hurts. Badly. In all sorts of ways.

A few rolls- Dave, Cindy, a guy I don’t know. I wasn’t doing very well today in the sparring. Last night I had been marvelling that I felt competant in sparring, so I’m not surprised… it is common to have a “wow, I suck” day right after you start to feel like you might know what you are doing. BJJ likes to keep you humble that way.

Cindy also informed me that the bicep slicer that Prof Herbert showed us last night is illegal. Dang. I liked that trick. Herbert failed to mention that it is illegal. I’m really glad she told me that before I did it to somebody.

Chopped off all my hair today. Feeling kind of self conscious. With the long, long, red “mermaid hair”, that’s all everyone ever looks at. Now I feel like people might notice my body and clothes or something. It’s sure going to be nice to be able to do BJJ for a while without that spandex cap, though. And without having wet hair for three hours after the shower.

Guilt-cutting

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You can’t truly know your limits- physically or emotionally- until you’ve reached them. Go to your limits often enough, however, and they move. –Rory Miller

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup: Cross-grab opponent’s elbow, same-side grab the wrist, PULL hir to you at the same time that you step forward. Step on hir foot to check, go to the clinch on the back (one arm trapped). I couldn’t make myself step on John’s foot (and I sure as hell didn’t want him stepping on mine), so I checked the ankle with the arch.

You are sitting, opponent is standing and grabbing your pants at the knees. Same technique as above, only this time you are standing up, with your inward foot between hir feet and bowing your outward leg…well, outward. Do not place hand on the mat. You can grab the shin just below the knee and use it to help hoist yourself up.

You standing, opponent on hir back with knees up. Go to the side, KOB. Opponent turns on hir side, places hand on your knee, and shrimps. Grab hir wrist, twirl and kimura. Try to keep the person pinched firmly between your shins. John was cheating the turn and shrimp, so I was having to yank him upward by the arm with each rep in order to get him on his side. Which I can do, but that gets exhausting after a while…. and it also requires changing levels again (when Carlos was exhorting us to get and stay low). I was debating asking him to turn more, or just sucking it up… then he complimented me on how I was moving him where I wanted him. So I kept my mouth shut.

Same entry as above, only this time you sink your arm under opponent’s arm, hook, twirl and armbar. DON’T FORGET TO GRAB THE PANTS!!!!! Actually, I didn’t forget that ONCE this time, to my delight. John was intrigued and impressed by the way I seized him high on the arm (just above the elbow) and (again) yanked him up to make sure he was on his side. I explained that you can always slide back down the arm once you’re in position, and grabbing way up there works for no-gi as well as making it less likely that you’ll lose the arm (or find yourself holding only empty sleeve) in gi.

Repetitive drills to exhaustion. There was lots of getting up and getting down again today, which is always hard on John and me as the oldsters.

Found out that Hadley and Amy are both absent from the rolls of the Proving Grounds this weekend. Kind of a bummer. I was asked if I would be willing to do gi as well- there is a blue belt coming from Oregon who has no match. I said okay. She is smaller than me, too. That made me feel guilty. I was 132.5 this morning naked. Every time I went to eact something today, I thought about that blue belt coming all this way and having to fight fat, purple belted me- and I reconsidered. Turns out that guilt is a better motivator to cut than the fear of not making weight.