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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There are no anonymous mouthguards.

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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.

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.

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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.

Some old guy already taught me that one.

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Ultimately your mind and intellect are what save you, your body is the tool they use. So keep the tool in good working order, but tune up the engine. Campfire Tales From Hell

Friday BJJ in Bellevue.

Bullfight passing of spider guard. After bringing foe’s feet together and planting them on the mat, grab hir right wrist with your left hand (the WRIST, not the gi sleeve). Keep the pants cuff on the other side. Step beside hir right hip with your near foot and give a good ceilingward yank at both wrist and pants cuff before moving to KOB. You may then be able to transition to an armbar- but make sure you FIRST trap the arm firmly between your knees and THEN clear opponent’s grip on your sleeve cuff before re-grabbing the wrist and applying the armbar (one foot over hir neck and the other knee folded with your toe under hir ribs). Unsurprisingly, my biggest problem proved to be remembering to grab the leg (ideally both legs, although with my stubby arms I’m not going to count on that) before dropping back into the armbar. Also, as soon as I tried to speed up, I started getting sloppy about clearing the sleeve grip. I asked why it was necessary to clear the sleeve grip at all… it seemed to me that clearing it is just an invitation for the opponent to try to yank hir arm down in an attempt to get out of the armbar. Carlos explained that it may be difficult to maneuver the hand into position at the apex of the armbar if s/he still has your sleeve. (I think you could probably muscle that…. if you’ve got them well and truly trapped in the armbar, that cuff grip is not going to save them except in cases of extreme muscle disparity… but even in a comp I would prefer to not muscle that.)

Opponent bearhugs you from behind. Lower stance, bring your hands up to your chest to free forearms, and cover hir hands on your chest with your own hands. Step slightly to the right and stick your left foot behind hir feet. Kneel on right knee and plant right shoulder on the mat, making sure to drive downward forcefully enough and hold tight enough that opponent can’t free hir hands before getting tossed over your shoulder. Go with the roll and end in a T shape with your shoulder blades on opponent’s chest. Keep butt off the mat and apply as much weight as possible as you roll toward hir feet and move to side control, then KOB.

I have done both of these before, and felt comfortable enough to go decently fast *and* work them both sides. Armbar portion turned out to be much tighter on the Stupid Side, although my brain was very slow to grasp the guard pass from the Stupid Side.

A little KOTH, open guard pass vs defend the pass, me down in open guard the entire time. Lots of white belts- so I spent some time explaining what a guard pass is, some time telling a small woman to try to experiment with different positions and movements instead of trying to simply muscle out of spider guard, and some time getting Captain Cavemanned by muscley spazzy male white belts.

A roll with 2 white belts and one with Doug.

First white belt was strong and spazzy, so I was mostly just trying to control him. Let him have an upa, since he performed it correctly.

Hip-threw and then subbed the second white belt several times, explained about turning and shrimping out from under KOB, and explained about keeping the chin to the chest while I was groping for chokes.

I have rolled with Doug enough that I am recognizing a lot of his sneaky little traps and refusing to fall into them. (freezing in the middle of a guard pass that I know is going to result in a sweep) “Gee, I think I’ll slide right into side control LIKE AN IDIOT. Some old guy taught me that one. You’re going to need to come up with some new tricks, Doug.” He also let me get that same one on HIM… I was excited that I 1)remembered it, and 2)was able to make it work, as it’s kind of complicated and not at all intuitive.

Speed Friday

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Most people are grass-eaters with their heads down on the ground. The jackals and lions know this and think of them as that. Hold your head up and walk like you are the biggest, baddest lion that walks. The jackals and lions will notice and leave you alone because they don’t want to get hurt. Don’t challenge them because they might feel they have to respond to it. All you want is their respect, not their dignity. -Greg Hamilton

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Earlier, I had walked 2 miles (I had a work meeting) and also made a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting visit to the Habitat For Humanity store- which I will elaborate upon later.

As usual, Kevin and I fought over who would defer to the other in line. I informed him that soon he would have another stripe and then he wouldn’t be able to argue about it.

Tonight was a “drill as fast as you can” night. “Speed Friday” Carlos called it.

Ankle pick from standing- drop to right knee between opponent’s knees, grab behind the top of hir calf with your right hand and behind hir ankle with your left. Stand up and pick up the ankle. Opponent’s job: put both palms to mat and attempt to handwalk/scuttle away until footing can be regained.

Same ankle pick, only this time as opponent attempts to scuttle, you clasp that ankle against your body and grab at hir other ankle with your right hand. Carlos had to point out to me that those of us with short arms may need to “turn the corner” around opponent’s body in order to reach that second ankle- don’t just stay where you are and strain after it. Lift the second ankle, opponent will be twisted in the air to be dumped on hir back. Step between hir knees and push hir ankles to the mat (or to hir butt) to defend any DLR or other reguard attempts.

KOB to spinning armbar, armbarred person turns to push on knee and deliberately brings top knee up to bait a pantleg grab. If you fail to bring the knee up, the armbar-er may be moved to apply better technique and underhook your knee instead, which will make it difficult to do the next move- which is to straighten your leg to break the grip. Hitch hiker escape to pop your head up UNDER/BEHIND their butt, get up and move around to KOB. I was happy to practice that hitch hiker escape, as it is a technique that for some reason I always seem to be absent on the day it is taught/practiced, and I haven’t worked it enough for it to be instinctual regarding which way to go. I have always (and still do) regard it as a bit of a hole in my game. I don’t use it much, as I favor a yank of the elbow down to the mat (works great with my short arms)… but it is one of those basic techniques that every jiu jitsu artist should be able to do well.

Carlos kept urging us to go faster and faster, and began to pit couples against each other in speed. Of course Kevin and I, being the ranking belts in the room, could not allow mere white and blue belts to beat us- so we really turned it on. This resulted in some exhaustion-induced clumsiness (esp with the ankle pick) as the night progressed. At one point he went to his knee and then went shooting right on past me while I stood there and watched him slide by.

By the time we were done, I was reeling with exhaustion. I was gratified to see that Kevin (half my age) was tired as well. I would have liked to have a roll with Kev- but it was a challenge to keep my LOC up enough to safely complete the drive home, so I’m glad I didn’t try to push it further.

Knees ache from all the up-down and from dropping onto the right knee a million times.

Not quite cauliflower

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Maintaining honor and winning are indirect goals. Killing is a direct goal. Working toward direct goals peels a lot of bullshit off of your tactics. –Rory Miller

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup: double leg setups.

Then, double-leg setup switching to a rear bear hug. Trap the far arm (not the one on the side you circled around on), and point your face toward the trapped arm so that you don’t get an elbow in the nose.

I thought I could go without my headgear for a while….. it’s so damn hot…. and wound up getting “not-quite-cauliflower-but-getting-there”. Just from pressing the side of my head against the guy’s gi while I was doing the double-leg setups. Silver lining: this does prove that I’m being good about keeping my head up and pasted well against his side.

Armbars from KOB.

Spar with John. I managed to twist my bad ankle. I’m limping on it now, which ticks me off because I have a day of hiking planned tomorrow.

Spar with Amy, finally. She is pretty tough, but I was happy to see that I could handle her. I did notice a few improvement points for her, which I hope were helpful.

Evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Double leg setups again, which I was not thrilled about due to my gimpy ankle and the fact that my knees where still whimpering about the previous round of double leg setups. Carlos showed us a new one, involving grabbing both heels (one from the outside, one from the inside). He didn’t really talk about the shoulder pressure on the leg, but I was pleased to note that even though I have never seen anything like this before, I was able to ID that shoulder pressure on that particular spot as the REAL meat of the technique.

You are in side control and moving to mount, opponent bridges toward you, you pop over hir back and S-mount. Advance to armbar or ezekiel, depending on whether the arm is over or under yours. I struggled with this because I had to keep pausing to note where the arm was and then try to remember which option that meant taking.

A little KOtH from closed guard, pass vs sweep. I did pretty poorly at this, despite the fact that we were divided into 3 weight classes and I didn’t have to deal with the behemoths tonight. I was getting pretty tired by this time.

One roll with Lindsey. I got a tap, which made me happy, as she makes me work for it.

I’m having some trouble keeping my weight from creeping up, now that I’m taking a break from comps. I’m trying to gear up to go on a little diet. I think disciplining myself about snacking at work is going to be a major key right now.

I’ll never forget…..

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To achieve an elite standard of personal performance usually requires a fair amount of natural ability, motivation and commitment. It does not follow that an elite martial artist also has the ability to pass those skills on to others at all levels. In fact, the opposite is usually true. To become an elite performer usually means that the student has natural ability and therefore learns skills quickly and easily. A great degree of self-motivation and commitment is also required and such performers generally find little difficulty in applying themselves to the rigors of training, grading and competition. Since very few students achieve such high levels of performance, too often a coach does not understand the needs of these “lesser mortals” who are in fact the majority. When one looks at specific groups such as junior, female, male, elderly, competitive, aggressive, shy, introverted, or combinations of these, many martial arts coaches in the past have been- to say the least- underprepared.    Tony Gummerson, “Teaching Martial Arts”

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Friday:
I read a book that basically gutted me. Have you ever read a book in which the sadist- I mean the author- makes you totally fall in love with a character and then tortures that character with an endless litany of events that are a thousand times worse than death? Till you’re almost hoping the poor sap just buys it, but you don’t think you can handle that? I read a *LOT*, and this is only the second book that has made me feel like that to an extent that it made me feel actually traumatized. In addition, I’ve only read 4 books in my life in which a character death has made me cry. So this was a double-slam. And it was book 3 in a series, so I was already in love with the character by the start of book 3… there was no lead-in or warm-up, she started torturing my poor dear on page 1 and didn’t stop till the epilogue. I didn’t really want to read book 3, because by the end of book 2 I knew there was absolutely no way this was going to not end in savage and bitter heartbreak… but I couldn’t bear to not find out what happened.

I know this is partly because I’ve had a difficult week and incredibly little sleep, but I’m feeling really gutted and raw right now.
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Thursday:

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. Standing guard pass drills to KOB to start. These squat-heavy techniques are hard on me and John, especially at the beginning of class, when it’s THIS hot, and when it goes on for about five years. Prof. Herbert had the timer set to ding every twenty seconds, so every twenty seconds we would stop, panting, and look pleadingly at him- but he made us keep going…. and going…. and going…..

Same thing, only starting from spider guard. When opponent straightens one leg, you step on the thigh of the OTHEr (bent) leg and pass to that side, yanking both the leg and sleeve as you move into KOB.

Same thing yet again, but now instead of KOB, paste the top of your foot to the opponent’s shoulder blade and place the other one over hir neck. Armbar. This was a classic Herbert move- he likes these things where he gets his strong, short legs in there and hooks his toes all over you and then subs you to death. As usual, what works well for him seems to be working well for me, although of course he does it about a zillion times faster and more gracefully. But I was already nicely set up to segue into this, as I had been setting up a bit of a straight armbar while doing the KOB.

A little positional sparring from spider guard.

Sparring with John, then Ed. Ed ankle locked me about ten times in a row. He looks like he could be doing his taxes while he tools me.
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Evening in Bellevue:

Luis is injured and specifically asked me if I would work with him. I know this is mostly because I am tiny, but I do like to think there’s at least a LITTLE aspect of me being trustworthy and safe for the injured to work with. He did, however, bring up that time I ran over to him while he was lying on the mat and dropped into front mount and apparently did not catch myself QUITE as high on my knees as I had intended- he moaned like he was dying, and I felt AWFUL…. that happened about 3 years ago and I’ll never forget it- but I was really hoping that he had!!!! No such luck!!! I asked him if he still loves me anyway, and he said yes.

He let me do more than my share of the drills, since they were hurting his injury… although he had to tell me several times to be heavier (I was trying to be gentle on his injury). When he admonished me to be heavier in N/S, I whined that I was trying to not smother him with my enormous belly. He laughed for a really long time when I said that.

“Around the world” flow drills: side control to scarf to N/S to scarf to side control, etc etc. At the end, we did some front mount as well. Luis suggests using my forehead heavy on opponent’s belly in N/S. It was quite immobilizing when he demo’ed it on me.

N/S, pull both of your opponent’s gi tails under hir armpits and snug them in as tight as you can. If s/he is wiggling around, it actually makes this easier than if s/he is just lying there. Then hop up to your feet and step forward so that you force opponent into a sitting position. There should be very little pulling involved, unless you really WANT to work that hard for some reason. Sit back down in back mount and squeeze opponent between your knees. Grab for the choke immediately. When s/he goes to defend the choke, sink the hooks in and immediately roll to the side (NOT to your back, and make sure you pick the correct (pillow) side).

Everyone has been asking me if I’ve had a chance to work with Amy (Dex’s wife, blue belt, professional MMA fighter), and she was there tonight, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen her. I would have liked to spar with her, but not in the shape I was in at that juncture. She has a big-deal fight scheduled next month and is training very seriously right now, and I was way too tired at that point to be able to press her.

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.

That elderly tiny white belt *looked* harmless enough.

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The physical part has never been the hard part of self-defense. Knowing when to act, trusting your judgment, giving yourself permission to do what needs to be done and doing all this from a position of physical and mental disadvantage while surprised– that’s the hard part. –Rory Miller

Thursday two-fer at Bellevue. I weighed 132 first thing in the morning, naked.

Standing guard pass to KOB.

Same entry, then opponent crosses foot over top and places it on your hip preparatory to replacing guard. Grab the ankle, shove hir sideways, KOB again.

Same as above, only when you KOB, opponent turns on side and shoves at your knee. Twirl around hir head and KOB on the other side. My past dance training tends to allow me to do this type of thing quickly and gracefully (and without kicking my compadre in the head), but it often takes me about three extra foot placements than it takes Carlos.

Lots of drills of these. Exhausting and painful on the knees.

Two spars- Prof Lindsey and Rocky. Lindsey was fun. Rocky was frustrating.

Between classes I went back to Mohlbaks. Why do I do this? I can’t afford to go nuts in Mohlbaks right now. Plus, I had told myself firmly that I was NOT buying any more bamboo untill I see if my first batch survives the winter outside. Guess what I walked out with? And horseradish. And two more foxgloves. I was excited to find a yellowish variety. All the volunteers that are coming up in my yard are pink, every last one. I was less excited after I went to Home Depot for dirt, and found yellow foxgloves at 1/3 what I had paid at Mohlbaks.

Evening class. Chrisanne had promised to show up, but she got trapped by the lockdowns at SPU yesterday. This was a bummer because I was feeling pretty damn tired, and I probably would have gone home had I not had a date to bar Chrisanne’s arm. Sparring with Rocky had knocked the physical and emotional energy out of me.

You in closed guard- put one foot on floor beside opponent’s hip, stand and turn hips exaggeratedly out as if you are standing on a surfboard. Slide knee over opponent’s thigh and pass to side control.

Same, only this time you scoop under opponent’s thigh and pass the other way. Note that Carlos wants the THUMB in the lapel unless you are trying to do a cross collar choke. This is a bad habit for me, but I did notice that when John did it as instructed, this put the blade of his forearm right in my throat, which was unpleasant.

A few spars. Nadine kicked my ass as usual. Spider guard is really the only thing that wards her off, and only for a little while. That blue belt guy with previous experience in something- he’s really good. Kevin, who is always fun and competitive and doesn’t smash me, although he always grabs my bad ankle. Blue-belt Peter, always was nice to play with him. For my last spar, I grabbed a tiny little elderly-looking white belt that I’ve never seen before. That little guy was *SO* tight on top, it was incredible. Nice passes, too. It was a relief when Carlos awarded that guy his blue belt at the end of class. Even so, I got dominated a lot today and felt kind of demoralized by the time I went home.

Ankle is still a little tender- it’s giving me some problems when it’s on the mat outside-down (the way it rolled out), shrimping on that side, and of course if anyone grabs it I collapse immediately.

Friday, first thing in the morning, naked: 132 again. That’s not fair. You should get to see at least .5 lb down after doing two classes and watching your diet.

K on yer B

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Don’t mess with your brain chemistry. Your brain is a finely balanced machine. You can usually make it stupider with chemicals, not smarter. Don’t be dumb on purpose. –Rory Miller

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Opponent lying on floor, you standing at hir feet. Pass to the side, using hand to press hir knees away from you. KOB.

Same, adding: place hands on opponent’s shoulders and transition to KOB on the other side.

Same, adding: step around opponent’s head and return to KOB on the first side. This involves only two steps, and you continue to face forward. (Dance experience realy helped me with this maneuver…)

Same, adding: similar transition back to KOB on the opposite side AGAIN, only this time you are facing hir feet while you do it. Opponent turns in to you and places hand on your knee. Spinning armbar (yup, back to the OTHER side again).

Positonal sparring from KOB.

Positional sparring from open guard.

One roll with Danny and one with Ed.

I have been 133lb all this week, eating a lot of eggs, would like to get back down to 127.

Surprise, we’re doing no-gi tonight.

bjj010109

Kaia appeared on tributary bank and swooped into the grouping of lanterns without a sound, like a grim spectre. –The Hole In the Clouds

Thursday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Carlos had us take our jackets off and do no-gi, which was great.

I was the last kid picked for the kickball team again today, which got me paired up with Luis. As much as it sucks to be left standing there alone on the wall, I try to see it as a gift when it ends with me drilling with a black belt.

Pummeling to single-leg. Grabbing the heel.

Pummeling with your back against the wall. with the underhooking hand, cup opponent’s shoulder while you drive the overhooking arm deep across between your chests. Pull down with that cup hand while you shove down with the straight arm against hir bicep. This torques the back unpleasantly. Scoot around (toward your cup hand) so that your opponent is now pinned to the wall. End with your foot planted behind hirs.

Opponent begins in KOB. You bridge to jostle hir enough to make space behind hir knee. Hug the knee as you roll in and glue your shoulder to hir leg. Your belt should touch the mat. Get to your knees and press your head and shoulder into opponent’s leg, forcing the knee AWAY from hir centerline, for takedown. As s/he turns body in to you and puts knee up to guard, you dive in and underhook the thigh while ducking your head to the outside of it. Go to the side and get KOB. This is a circular drill.

Many reps. After a while, Carlos took Luis away from me and gave me (blue belt) Peter.

Spars with Peter and three other blue belts. There were no fireworks for me here, but I felt competitive with them. I was moving a little better than I tend to do (albeit still not enough), didn’t get trapped on the bottom *too* much, and I felt more assertive with my grips than I have felt in the past. It definitely seems like the extra effort I’ve been putting into asking people to roll no-gi in recent months is making me feel more confident with it. I even got a “Good job, Keetsune.” from Carlos after my second spar. That feels really nice.