The head- a vulnerable design flaw

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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.

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Maybe I should have been offended instead of relieved?

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My crystal ball has never been very good. I’ve noticed that bad things generally happen to me when I’m not expecting it rather than when I am expecting it. For example, I’ve never been in a _planned_ car accident. I’ve never had a flat tire I was expecting to get. And the day my middle son was struck by lightning, we sure weren’t expecting that to happen!
 That’s why my default setting is to carry the gun, even at times and in places where I “feel safe.”
-Kathy Jackson, Cornered Cat

Thursday no-gi and Friday evening gi in Bellevue.

More double-leg setups from standing.

Double-leg attempt to be met with sprawl.

Opponent bearhugs you from behind. You drop down to clear the forearms, lift them in front of your chest, turn body to the side, and step one foot behind opponent’s foot. Takedown. If they defend, we lifted them off the ground and sort of contact-improv’ed them across our lower backs to drop them on the other side. I’ve never done anything like that in BJJ. It was unexpected to be picked up like that. It’s something I don’t usually think to do to an opponent (in BJJ). Judging by everyone else’s response to the concept, it might be worth experimenting with live. Particularly as I have lately had the recurring thought that I ought to be working harder to formulate my nonexistant bottom game and should stop always leaping for the top.

Opponent is turtled. You do a “sash grip” over one shoulder and under the other. Switch legs and stick your far knee under hir belly, pull hir into back mount. At this point it was essential to be sure you had a grip with your fingertips digging into the palm of your opposite cupped hand. I do not like this grip and had to readjust it every rep. It was also essential that the arm OVER opponent’s shoulder had the palm toward the ceiling (another thing I had to pause and check, and usually adjust). After getting your back mount points, move into S mount. Scoot the front leg way up on hir chest and sit down, bringing other leg around and over hir floorward shoulder. Now, if you dig your forearm bone into the side of hir neck (this is why the palm of this arm had to be facing up) and pinch your knees together, it was a nasty choke. Usable in no-gi. If you do it wrong it becomes a crank, so be careful. I like S mount, and I found that my usual positioning needed a very conscious adjust to move that front leg from belly to chest. If it wasn’t far up enough on the chest, the move did not work. If everything was positioned correctly, we didn’t even have to lean back or knee-squeeze, it already hurt bad enough to tap.

Spider guard sweeps- pull opponent’s arm across your chest before sweeping. Neglecting to control the arm and neglecting to be aggressive enough about breaking down the opponent’s posture are two persistant problems with my sweep game. I got WAAAAAAAAAAAY under my partner and manhandled her balance around.

Same entry, only instead of sweeping, place foot on opponent’s shoulder blade and use a turned-in knee to elbow-lock. This was beautifully nasty- I love it. It is very Cindy-esque. Ha ha. I can’t wait to try this on someone live. Preferrably Chrisanne, who missed this class. (Insert evil chuckle)

King of the hill- back mount vs escaping back mount. I am fairly good at escaping back mount, but I am hopeless as a backpack- and since that’s where I was for this entire cycle, things did not go very well for me.

Carlos cautioned me TWICE this week for what he saw as me doing a technique too fast/rough- in both cases, I had my usual perfect exquisite control and there was absolutely no danger. This frustrates and offends me. I accidentally made Kelly yelp *ONCE* about three years ago (on a technique that I had done to numerous kung fu classmates about 3x as hard and they didn’t react), and I think that one unfortunate occurance has really stuck in Carlos’s mind and he has me irrevocably pegged as someone dangerously careless. I’m about the most careful and controlled MA’ist on the WHOLE PLANET, so it winds me up when he does this. (Maybe THAT is why he didn’t put me with his girlfriend! He put her with a WHITE BELT! Hmmm, maybe I should be offended!)

Brain Surgery

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There’s a difference between inflicting lethal damage and stopping power. Someone can be fatally wounded and still functional enough to take you with them. Mostly it depends on how dedicated they are to taking you out. Pain alone won’t stop someone hellbent on killing you. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Missed a day of hiking due to rain (still did the multiple mini-walks). Otherwise, still hiking/walking every morning.

I am on drugs! I have an antianxiety med and a sleeping pill. I insisted that the doc not give me anything potentially addictive, and no refills on the sleeping pills (if I want a refill, I will go back to the clinic and we will have a discussion about my level of reliance). It’s only day 2, and I’m still on half-dosages of each. The only thing that has happened so far (aside from a mild headache) is that while dozing about 12 hours after taking the first half-tab of the antianxiety med, I had a bizarre mental picture of a bunch of bats and rats and pigs with sharp edges, flickering like newspaper on fire. Since I do not do substances (well, until now… sigh), I have never before had the experience of finding a thought in my brain that was obviously a foreign insertion. It was very odd.

Thursday evening no-gi in Bellevue.

Various basic drills… with RUNNING LAPS between each. We even had to watch the demo of each drill WHILE we were running.

Short spars with rotating partners, no subs allowed. Lots of them- like 12 or 14. Fortunately the room was jam packed with purple and brown belts. There was one lonely white belt in the room (he looked up the line and stage-whispered, “Hey- is this an advanced-only class???”).
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Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Rodrigo was there to teach tonight!

Great warmup roll with Casey. He let me slap on a number of subs, and get within a hair of finishing them, and then slithered out with ease.

Double leg setups shifting to single-leg. Scoop your arm (the one in front of the opponent) under hir thigh so that you are almost grabbing hir ass, and step backward while you pull hir to the floor. Place your hand on hir hip, “Slide into home” over hir thigh, side control.

Stand up in closed guard (don’t forget to grab the sleeve cuff first!). As opponent opens guard and slides to floor, frame up your elbows on your knees and wedge yourself between hir knees. Press one knee to the mat and slide the *FAR* knee through, placing it in hir armpit (it is important to get this high). Make sure to keep your toe down until you backsit to move to side control. This move- which is not exactly brain surgery, and I use it all the time- was AWFUL on the Stupid Side for some reason. As usual, the first time I tried it on the stupid side, that’s when the prof chooses to come by. He of course questioned why I can’t do this very simple thing, and I said, “It’s the Stupid Side,” whereupon he instructed, “Do the Stupid Side again.” (Argh!)

This last technique actually *WAS* brain surgery……

Same entry, only when you press the knee to the floor, instead of hugging the head to pass, you take the arm closest to opponent’s head and wrap it over hir thigh. This presents your shoulder the the mat near hir ribs (your back patch in hir face). Roll, and as you go over, catch hir leg and hook your knees together. If you do this right, as you roll upright again, you force hir into a roll. As s/he rolls, maneuver hir into your back mount. (You must hip escape a bit to make this work). Get hooks. Choke.

I have never done this before (although it has been done to me many times), and it hurt my brain- but Rodrigo demo’ed it about a billion times, so I was surprised when I succeeded. Even more surprised when my white belt partner marveled “You make it seem so smooth!” Still, this is way too complex for attempting live at this point. It normally takes three times of a given technique coming around in the teaching rotation before it really starts to gel for me.

Lots of reps of all of these.

Found out that said white belt partner has NEVER sparred, so it was a good excuse to stay for one roll. She was assertive and heavy on top, but I was able to handle her, and give her some pointers that she seemed very appreciative of.

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.)

A double dose of Dave

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The guys who are the most dangerous are usually the ones who- to use a poker term- have the smallest “tells”. It’s not the wild-eyed, drooling-in-your-face mad dawg who’s the most dangerous. (Although odds are good such a person will beat you bloody if you give him an excuse.) Be far more concerned about the guy who doesn’t seem concerned about your “message” of what a big bad ass you are. Take for example the guy who- calmly- leans back in his chair and keeps his voice level- while his hand floats out of sight under the table. If someone isn’t getting uptight about your threat displays, odds are you dun tree’d yourself a bad ‘un. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Saturday lunchtime no-gi in Kirkland. Cindy was not there because she was at a seminar, but it was very nice to see Dave… and Dave… again.

I haven’t been to a Dave class in a long time, and it was amusing as heck to see how much he is turning into Cindy. Not just the way he moves, but his SPEECH PATTERNS as he teachers are mimicking hers. It’s a compliment. I’d love to be able to turn into Cindy. I doubt I have the raw material, though!

Standing guard pass vs replace open guard drills, standing guard pass to KOB drills, standing guard pass to KOB to stepping over the head and going to KOB on the other side. Note that when you step over, your shin should be touching the hip already.

Front mount to setting up what looks like it’s going to be a mounted triangle, but then turns into an armbar. You do not need to step over and lie down. Dave placed his shin on the opponent’s face. I hate kneeling on my partners’ faces. The girl I was working with had no problem doing so to me. Thus her mounted triangle position and armbars were nice and tight, and mine were loose because I was trying to be gentle. Good for her, you go girl!

Positional sparring from front mount. Retain vs sweep/escape.

The woman asked what belt I was, and I told her that this is no-gi, so it doesn’t matter. I was trying to fly under radar for the people I didn’t know (I like that we are not pressured to wear belts for no-gi at Kirkland), and I kept having to stop myself from automatically going to the front of the line when we lined up at each break. I did notice that after we did the positional sparring, when we lined up again, my partner deliberately moved over to my left to put herself- not me- at the end of the line.

Spars with my female partner, a guy I don’t know, then Dave (the other one). I was able to control the woman easily. I was able to defend getting tapped by the guy, although I spent considerable time under side control. Dave is always nice to me and refrains from tooling me when we spar, but I got several chokes on him that were *almost* taps. I continue to stick my feet under people’s armpits begging them to ankle lock me, and I should know better than to do that with DAVE, as he loves attacking feet.

Begging for an omoplata

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Japan has a concept called Shu-Ha-Ri. You can find it not just in martial arts, but in almost any traditional Japanese art.
The first stage is “Shu” which means “to preserve”. At this level, the student is expected to copy exactly what is presented until it becomes habit.
Then is the “Ha” stage, which means “to break”. Now the student starts to take apart and examine the material. With a strong base behind him, he has good examples of how things should be, and he has room to mess with things and determine the reasoning and principles behind them.
The final stage of “Ri” means “to separate”. At this point, the seeker is expected to take the core principles and make new expressions of them different from what he has been shown. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Yard work in the morning.

Thursday no-gi in Bellevue.

The Revolution is in two weeks, so we are doing a lot of positional training and king of the hill.

I find KOTH in no-gi to be particularly frustrating, as my usual lag behind the curve is more noticable then ever here. When it’s a “pass vs sweep”, “sub vs escape” type exercise, there’s very little room to recover from and compensate for the inevitable “I’m just going to hoist you over and place you where I want you because you’re so tiny” maneuvers.

One roll with Ron, whom I have not worked with in a very very long time. Unfortunately it has not been long enough for *HIM* to forget that I like to snatch guillotines from standing, and he was able to defend successfully. We both caught ourselves sticking feet in one another’s armpits begging to be footlocked. A persistant bad habit still needing more work.

Carlos pointed out another bad habit that many of us were doing… I’m not sure if I am doing it, but I need to pay attention and make sure I’m not… placing a hand on the mat beside opponent’s opposite hip while passing guard, before getting fully past the legs. This is begging for an omoplata. You need to place the hand on the hip. It is entirely likely that I am committing this sin, as I tend to drape myself very low over the opponent while passing guard, and I don’t like to brace on the opponent’s body because I’m scared of getting swept.

Whoo-hoo! Live Tripod sweep!

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With developments in technical competence and the application of the technique in training, grading, or competition, the self confidence of the student improves. He sees his improvements as successful efforts on his part. Success breeds success, and success breeds self-confidence. The two go very much hand-in-hand. A successful and confident student looks forward to training and enjoys the learning environment. A happy student learns faster than an unhappy one because he enjoys what he is doing, and because the skills are consciously and subconsciously associated with pleasure, they are retained for longer. In that the reverse is also true- that failure breeds lack of confidence and dissatisfaction with training- the learning environment has to allow for the student to succeed in what he is doing, no matter what his level of ability or competence. Tony Gummerson, “Teaching Martial Arts”

No-gi in Bellevue. It was very tempting to not go in today. It was 85 degrees in the house even after the sun had set (which it does at around 2pm even in high summer at my place- such is life in the mountains).

Of course Carlos shut the garage door and turned off the fans before he began class. Guy is a sadist.

We started with a great deal of pummelling with rotating partners. This is a great way to work up a hell of a sweat on a hot day. Two of my opponents were male teenage white belts who were obviously discomfited with the fact that they were pummelling someone who had boobs, and that said pummeling could not be accomplished without coming into repeated contact with said boobs. I went a little hard and was just very matter-of-fact about it.

Standing guard passes. Press knee and hip, slide over thigh with near knee. Carlos corrected me on a persistant sin of mine- I fail to trap the near arm in side control. OVER THE SHOULDER AND UNDER THE HEAD. I need to ask Chrisanne to start calling my attention to it when I fail to remember that.

If foe turns toward you and tucks in a top knee shield- Underhook the thigh high up on your shoulder and pass on the opposite side. (Note that the forearm that is not hugging the thigh needs to be ALL THE WAY across opponent’s waist. This is where I want to deploy yet another bad habit of mine- reaching up and placing it beside the opponent’s neck.)

Now- opponent knee shields your first attempt to pass and then foils your second attempt by hanging that leg heavy (I use that defense frequently)…. switch back to pass #1. Opponent (that little rat) now pushes on your knee to try to deny you yet again. Quickly switch the placement of your legs and drop both knees to the floor (note that getting both knees on the floor is the part that goes out the window for me when I try to do it on The Stupid Side). Hug that leg very closely to your torso and use the arm furthest away from that leg to reach over your head and catch the ankle/foot. Push that leg down and away (don’t get lazy and just drop it- PUT it where you want it) and pass. Don’t forget to trap that arm.

A little king-of-the-hill… takedowns. (Did I mention that Carlos is a sadist?) I got a nice takedown on one of the aforementioned white belts…. took his back and then pulled him down and rolled into mount. Otherwise, got pretty plowed by the rest of the guys and by Amy (who has great wrestling takedowns). One of the guys swept me up in his arms like a bride and laid me gently on the mat.

One incredibly fun roll with Amy, 20 or 30 minutes. Lots of standup, which is always a good thing. I got one tap on her, which was very exciting. It was a rear naked, after several near misses of same. I reminded her to keep her chin down, and warned that I would be watching her MMA fight next week and that if she let that girl get a rear naked on her, she was going to be answering to me.

I also got a sweep, which was much more exciting than the tap, as I rarely try sweeps live and even less rarely get one. And in no-gi, too! This was a tripod sweep, which I don’t think I have *ever* gotten live (I consider it a complicated technique- too many different hand and foot positions need to happen at once for me to readily wrap my brain around). It worked like a charm, and just when I thought life couldn’t get any better, I actually followed up by getting up and getting on top. Normally, when I am sitting on my butt with my feet in front of me, I have a bitch of a time getting up and getting on top with any speed or alacrity. On the rare occasion when someone goes down and I am caught in this position, I flounder there on my ass like a harpooned sea lion while they pop back up and pounce upon me. Recently we have done a significant amount of drilling of a technique or two that involved getting up and getting on top from this position, and it seems to have helped. I would be so happy to find myself past that particular sticking point… but we shall have to see if I can replicate the trick or if it was a freak fluke.

Amy of course got several things on me, primarily her excellent guard passes.

Anyway, it was a *really* fun roll… not just because of the sweep, the whole thing was fun- the type of roll that reminds me of why I do this. I need to try to roll with Amy more often. Starting from standup, if possible.

Why yes… an ear-ectomy would indeed eliminate the need for headgear.

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Use of force is a “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” issue. “This one is too little. This one is too much. This one is just right.” Campfire Tales From Hell

Thursday:

2 mile walk.

I went to the optometrist and got a different contact lens prescription. I have gotten slightly blinder. I still hate contacts, and tend to put them in right before class and pop them out immediately after. It is a constant source of irritation to me that I have to wear glasses- I am painfully aware that if a real defense situation occurs, all the Bad Guy has to do is hit me in the glasses and break them, knock them off, or even just bend them- and I will be fairly hamstrung in both a practical sense and in the realm of self-confidence. I told the doctor that I would really like to find a type of contact that is actually comfortable enough to wear all day, and will not make my head hurt when I try to do tasks that involve intense focus. I have now been wearing the brand that I am currently test-driving for two days- all day. They are better than the old ones, but I can still feel them in there and am still experiencing some amount of drying, itching and irritation. I am going to try to make myself keep wearing them as much as possible until my recheck appointment (although I’m not sure if that’s going to be practical at work, with the microscope).

No-gi in Bellevue.

I think I mentioned in my last posting that I left my headgear at the school YET AGAIN. Tonight, I walked in and saw Carlos hanging around talking to some people. I didn’t want him to see me searching for the headgear, so I went away and did something else for a while. Then I came back to peek in, and he was on the mat busy with some kids. But as soon as I crept across the floor and stuck my head into the office to see if my headgear was in there, he’s yelling “KEEEEEEEEETSUNE!” across the mat. I turn around, and he’s glaring at me and pointing to the corner of the room by the water cooler. I had to do the Walk Of Shame across the room while he glared at me. I apologized for about the five hundredth time. Then he suggested that if he amputated my ears, I wouldn’t have to worry about it any more.

Pummelling, double-leg setups. Carlos is fixated on these two drills lately. Chrisanne’s double-leg setups look and feel so incredible. I wish mine were half that good. I asked her if she ever tries them live, and she said no. I told her that she should.

I was too lazy to blog this class last night, and now I can’t remember everything we did. 😛 I do remember doing more double-leg setups with the other person sprawling, and then with a guillotine. We also spent a decent amount of time doing timed flow rolling with rotating partners.

I do remember that at the end, I had a great roll with Chrisanne. It was very very hot, but we resolved to spar at least a bit. She did a double leg takedown on me, and it worked beautifully.

When we were both lying on the mat dying, she said, “Dude. We rolled for forty minutes.” It felt like fifteen. I could have kept going, but she was done.

I remembered to take my headgear home with me tonight. Nor did I forget my water bottle or my belt.
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Friday:

Another two mile walk.

I went to Lindsey’s studio and got my hair cut. It was so nice to see her. I really miss her on the mat. And while I looked like a real sex kitten with my shaggy curls tumbling over my eyes, it was driving me crazy. So nice tonight to not have hair in my face.

BJJ in Bellevue. Hotter than hell in the gi.

After the ubiquitous pummelling and double-leg setups…

Standing reverse DLR guard passes. Press against the thigh, then when opponent pushes back, donkey kick, pass, and go to KOB.

Same, but opponent turns in to you and pushes your knee. Add a spinning armbar.

Same, but you don’t sink all the way into a good KOB- and opponent tries to single-leg you. Spinning armbar the OPPOSITE way. Note that this version does not involve stepping one foot backwards over the opponent. Your butt is the only thing that goes over. I struggled a bit with that.

Lots of drill reps, lots of getting up and down (which always exhausts the hell out of us old ladies), very very hot. But we both held up pretty well. Much mutual cheerleading. I wish I could better communicate to Chrisanne about the Dragon-ish recycling of energy. I tried to explain how to swing your leg and use centrifugal force to get yourself back up off the floor easier. I have several times tried to explain the paddleball analogy of bouncing the energy back into the next movement- and the next rep- instead of letting it go “splat” and expended/wasted. I don’t feel like I’m getting through- but focusing on trying to be a good example of these at least helps me do more reps faster, and keep my mind (to some degree) off of how hot and exhausted I am.

Again, it was far too hot to roll after class.

I remembered to take my headgear home with me again. I also walked right past the barbeque for the second Friday in a row. I’ve been eating a lot of chicken and eggs, but am still struggling mightily with my soda addiction. I did two per day for about two weeks, then backslid a bit. I’m down to one can when I get up, one at work, and a third when I get home from work. I am much weaker on my days off. If I’m home for any length of time, it’s very difficult to stay away from the fridge pack. If I’m out doing classes and other things away from the house, I’m fine most of the day but then I tend to binge with a couple of cans when I get home. I substitute juice or water at work (I know juice is full of sugar, but it’s better than pop… and I can kick the juice easy once I have the pop thing under control). I’d really like to eliminate that third morning soda. By the time I get home from work, I am tired and grouchy and jonesing for it. I often struggle similarly with eating bad things in the morning when I get home from work, so this is a destructive pattern for me. I’ve been good for the last few weeks about just not having trigger foods in the house. Man, this Dr Pepper, though. What do they put in this stuff, heroin?? I’m so glad I stayed the hell away from alcohol and drugs. If I’m this weak with caffeine and sugar, I have no business messing with anything more addictive than that. So glad I was wise enough to know this from the beginning.

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.

——————
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.

“We get a little sweatier here.”

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If even for the blink of an eye you can control two of the other guy’s limbs with one of yours, either with angle or timing or some sort of clinch, then the opponent is in grave danger. – Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

No-gi in Bellevue.

Carlos is out of town, so Ben taught class. He decided on “all spars” 😉 He let us open the big door, which was wonderful.

Ben and I were talking to a brand new white belt in the lobby before class, and Ben said something about washing his gi and belt….

White belt guy: “Wash your belt? Are we supposed to wash our belts?”
Ben: “PLEASE do.”
WBG: “We didn’t wash our belts at my tae kwon do school.”
Ben: “We get a little sweatier here.”

When I heard that Ben was going to have us do all spars, I told him that Chrisanne was coming in, and to please make sure she didn’t end up with any huge spazzy assholes. He said that he hadn’t been planning to match people up. I gave him a Look. He matched people up. Thanks Ben.

I told Casey how much I had enjoyed having Lindsay back in class last week. He told me that she had been happy too, and that she’d been scared to work with anyone except him and me….. and she’d said that I was even better than he was. That made me feel so, so, so, so good. Few things make me feel better than knowing that I was a excellent partner to my teammate.

I also had a chance to mention to Sean that Ben and I had been marvelling over him before class… that he is here ALL THE TIME, and busting his buns, and getting really, really good. So technical. He got all smiley and said, “I just love this.” I said, “I know, right?” 🙂 I enjoy giving people positive feedback, especially when I notice that they have been putting in a lot of time and hard work.

I had all good rolls tonight. All with people better than I, which is how we learn. And Carlos wasn’t there to yell at me for setting up kneebars, so I tried to set up a few on Ben and Casey, but of course I failed. I did get two nice taps, though- a straight elbow lock on Sean and an RNC on somebody else (can’t recall whom at the moment). Everybody tapped me left and right, but I was really happy to get those two taps- with this caliber of opponents, when you get a tap, it means something.