There are no anonymous mouthguards.


Will you spend your time and pursue your training in a doomed attempt to not die? Or will you train to live harder and truer? –Campfire Tales From Hell

Thurs no-gi in Bellevue:

There was a massive, delicious-smelling buffet in the lobby when I walked in. I walked right by. Carlos told me that there was food (like I could have missed it). I said, “I didn’t come here to eat.” I thought he’d like that, but he informed me that I was being rude. Again with the awkwardness and frustration of trying to make better diet decisions in a world that constantly wants to shove food in your face. And again with the cultural minefields. Five years with this guy and I still can’t always figure out what’s going to offend him.


Pummelling to backtake.

You have butterfly guard. Hug opponent around torso, lie back- load and lift.

Same, only now opponent whizzers you on one side. Grab hir wrist and hold it there while you remove your arm. Press hir wrist to hir own belly as you use your free arm to hug hir around the torso, lie back, and load-lift.

Same, only now as you lie back, yank hir arm hard across your bodies and kick with your opposite foot to spin the opponent and drop hir into your back mount. Hooks. Choke. Note- don’t forget to grab hir wrist in the backmount. This is a detail that I persistently forget across multiple techniques.

You standing, opponent sitting. Rocking-chair hir back. S/he sits up and wraps hir left arm around your right thigh. Dive your right hand UNDER hir arm. Place the blade of your left forearm on the back on hir neck. Gable grip. Sprawl. (ow… this made me want to tap right then… neck crank and spine bend…. and I was scared of what would come next) Rotate your arm circle so that your left bicep is facing the mat. Kick right leg through and drop to the mat. Head and arm choke. If you can’t get it, inch your body toward opponent so that your chest/belly cranks it worse (ow). I’m so happy I was doing this with Chrisanne. If it had been some big dumb whitebelt, I think I would have faked a stomachache and bailed. It was scary enough with Chrisanne.

Two phenomenal rolls with Chrisanne and one phenomemal roll with Danny.

Walked past the buffet a second time.

Fri gi in Bellevue.

Same agenda, minus the head-and-arm, and plus this:

After the pummelling and backtake, your attacker lifts your feet off the floor in a bearhug. You need to achieve a slight shift to the side before s/he lifts you. Then you can hook a shin around hir chin from the outside as you are lifted, preventing hir from lifting you any higher or from throwing you. As s/he drops your feet to the floor, you bend your knees, reach between them, and grab hir foot. Yank. As soon as you have hir on hir back, kneebar. Then drop the leg, lift the foot that is between hir legs, and pivot to move to KOB. You can add a face/throat strike here (this is self defence), or- if you are working with Chrisanne- you can beep her nose.

Many drill reps, as Carlos is wont to due on Friday nights. Chrisanne and I had aching legs from the night before. I started out the butterfly boosts really strong (it was fun and felt good) but I slowed down considerably as time went on. Chrisanne gained eight pounds with each set. It was partially that I was already sore from the previous night’s reps, and partially that I was glucose-deficient (I had eaten lunch, but run errands before class, and should have bought a sandwich or something before going in), but mostly it was the fact that I am old.

I got a compliment from Carlos on my butterfly sweep to backtake- he liked my snappy foot kick as I twirled my enemy into my back mount. Chrisanne and I were both struggling a bit with the the fact that we were tired enough by then to make the technique quite physically challenging to complete even if we felt like we knew/understood the steps.

Positional training from butterfly guard. I suck from butterfly guard. Chrisanne is better at this than I am. She swept me two or three times, and I got squat.

I was too hungry to stay for sparring. It was punishingly hot and muggy, too.

Carlos (pointing at a random mouthguard lying on the floor): “Rodney! Your mouthguard!”

Me (wonderingly): “You can identify everybody’s mouthguards on sight?”

Yes. He can.



So often I have witnessed things I would never have believed possible that I am more than willing to keep my mind open to the idea that our bodies are home to forces that we don’t fully comprehend. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Spent 5 hours at the Grapplethon, 11:30pm to 4:30 am. I wasn’t rolling the entire time, but I was rolling a lot. If we ever do another one of these, note that we had plenty of people around midnightish; they started dropping off around 2am. I would have been more use from 2am to 6am. But by 4:30, I needed to have a nap because I was due to spend the entire Saturday at work. At least I was able to watch the live stream at work, because The Big Bad Boss is usually not here on Saturdays.

I got to roll with 4 ladies that I have never worked with before. They were all asking me lots of questions- technical questions as well as getting-along-as-a-woman-in-the-gym questions. I’m still kind of dumbfounded when people do this; I keep wanting to look over my shoulder for the Gandalf-like figure they must really be seeking advice from.

I deliberately did not wear my belt. A handful of people there knew me, but it was really nice to be anonymous and no-expectations with most of the crowd. Although one of those women asked me (in tones usually reserved for speaking to movie stars and royalty) , “You’re a brown belt, right?” LOL. See what I get for trying to fly under the radar?

I also rolled with a few guys that I don’t know, and Peter, and Chris, and Griff. I was really happy to roll with Chris, because it’s been a long time. I had to peel him out of his sleeping bag. He had one of those subzero REI cocoon-style sleeping bags set up by the side of the mat along with a grocery bag of food, and he kept disappearing into his little camp at intervals.

I missed Lamont, and also Terry and Chelsea (although I spied the latter two suspects on the live feed later).

Griff not only spent the entire 24 hours on site, he spent most of it actively rolling, and taking the time to roll with almost everybody as well as teaching us stuff. He’s lost about half his weight- I barely recognized him. He tweaked my kneebars (pinch knees together, do not triangle legs), armbar off a failed keylock (turn little finger side of blade hand to floor and lift the propping forearm up a bit) and a few other things that I immediately forgot but I hope will come back to me later. He actually remembered my 16-min fight in the elevated ring in October (I think he might have been reffing that fight… Gods, I was so spacey) and made specific suggestions about things he observed. That was cool.

It had made over $7000 by the time I left, with over 12 hours to go (and- I assume- the biggest crowds to some Saturday afternoon, as it coincided with the onsite promotions class and BBQ). Twenty-one black belts on the mat for this (BEFORE promotions). Luiz was apparently promoted to black belt. Robert promoted to purple.

Amanda Loewen has her brown belt. It’s a relief. It’s kind of ridiculous for a purple belt to be able to fight Tammy Griego for over an hour straight without getting disassembled. I found out she has only been training for just under 4 years. Wonder if she has experience in a different MA.

Toe was mostly okay- I made a little shriek once when I caught it on Griff’s jacket as I was trying to replace guard- it hurt some but was reasonably functional. I did start to hurt more as the night wore on, though. I am going to have to be judicious about training this week. I’m seriously worried about making weight, especially if I can’t train as regularly as usual.