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”
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.
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.
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.