How are impact weapons used? You smack people with them. You can spend years learning nuances of jo staff or bo fighting or try to recreate quarterstaff technique from old manuals, but the basics aren’t that hard. You hit people. –Rory Miller

This entire week, I have spent 4 hours per morning in my yard, pulling blackberries by hand. On Weds and Thurs, I also spent an additional 4 hours in the afternoons (for a total of 8 hours a day those two days). It has been a lot of exercise, and I am irritated that I haven’t lost any weight. But I have made serious inroads on the blackberry problem. I have a heap of mangled vines the size of a car. I am going to have to slack off at least some next week , though, if I want to have any grips for Proving Grounds. My hands are killing me. Knees are bitchy as well. Otherwise, not feeling a lot of body soreness. It’s nice to be 43 and be able to do eight straight hours of yard work two days in a row and feel fairly okay.

Also- turns out that sticking your hand in the lawn mower to clear the blades is a dumb idea even if it’s a Flintstone (reel) mower instead of a motorized one. Damn thing bit me. I have an enormous protruberant blood blister on my finger. Fortunately it’s on my non-dominant hand. I was growling because the blades are dull, but I’m lucky they were, or I could have chopped off the tip of my finger.

Thursday no-gi in Bellevue. It was a drill-till-you-die night. I began with a spar with Casey. I didn’t feel like I did too well, but he praised me.

Ben and Kevin both have been promoted to brown belt!!

Single leg setups.

Standup, meathook behind head and bicep grip- transitioning to a standing armbar. Yank hir down to break hir posture. If s/he jerks upright, let hir- and do a double-leg.

Flopping from one side of a turtled opponent to the other- knee tucked in on each side.

We learned one new drill that was actually fun- you standing, opponent on hir back with feet on floor and knees up. You place your left hand on the floor just inside hir right foot, and your right hand atop hir left knee. cartwheel to the opposite side. Repeat. This was enough of a dance-ish technique that I was very coordinated at it and found it easy and fun.

These, MUCH LESS FUN: In open guard, press opponent’s left knee to the mat and hike hir right leg onto your left shoulder, hugging the thigh. skip from side to side, pressing each of your knees down on hir thigh in turn. This was not a good time for my achey knees, but I was soldiering along until Carlos came by and informed me that my butt was too high. He pressed my butt down, and after 3 reps, my body failed me. It was not a pain threshold or an exhaustion threshold, it was a case of I told my muscles to do X and absolutely nothing happened. Chrisanne did not do well with these either, but we both felt a little better when we noticed that the mid-twenties muscley boys beside us were moaning louder than we were.

Same setup, only now you press your palm to the small of opponent’s back and try to force hir to roll into turtle. You slide your knee under there, grab the over-one-shoulder-and-under-other-armpit back hug, control that wrist (That was the part I kept forgetting), and choke. Also, if opponent blocks your knee, hop over hir and do it on the other side.

When time was called, I keeled over and lay there in the fetal position for a while, as everyone else started lining up. I had to get up because Luis stared jeering at me.

Friday evening in Bellevue, all spars. Sore from yesterday.

Peter, Chrisanne, Peter again, some blue belt guy, Doug twice, Carlos.

I choked blue belt guy to a tap three or four times. Kept telling him, “Put your chin down, put your chin down,” If you don’t listen to me, buddy, I’m just going to keep right on doing it. He started to go out once. He didn’t go totally out, I don’t think, but he greyed and then had to pause for a moment. He then told Carlos and Doug that I “choked him out”. I have never choked anyone out.

The Doug-Doug-Carlos trifecta at the end nearly killed me. I was trying really hard to stay mobile and attacking, especially since Carlos informed me before we began that he was going to hold me down in various positions and he expected me to get out. For many of these positions, I had to try and fail at several options before he let me escape.

Note- with Casey, Doug and Carlos, I was noticing that when they are standing and I am sitting open guard, I sometimes fail to contact three points- which I need to be doing. Worse, sometimes when I *had* three points, I voluntarily let one go.

Nonetheless, I felt competent today.

I should mention that my 30-Day Plank Challenge failed at four minutes. I got through Day 26. I cannot do a four minute plank. Three and a half minutes is my limit. If I wanted to do more than that, I would need to plank regularly for a few weeks at least and build up to it.

Feelin’ like a purple belt….


A student learning self defense MUST learn force law. Otherwise it is possible to train to go to prison. A self defense response where you wind up behind bars for years is not a very good win. –Rory Miller

Evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Same techniques as this morning, drilling with Chrisanne and Lindsey.

It was one of those days where I inexplicably perform more poorly in the evening doing Round Two of the same thing than I did in the morning when it was new. Not sure why this happens, but it happens a lot… mental exhaustion?

Lindsay caught on very quickly and was doing it so fast and smooth that they eye could barely follow… I think both Chrisanne and I were feeling like drunk dancing grizzly bears in comparison.

Still having trouble with that underhook- which Prof Carlos made a point of stressing (again) is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE WHOLE THING.

One roll with Lindsay, one with Chrisanne, one with Casey. Spent much of Casey’s roll with him standing and trying to pass my open guard. We got into a really nice fast flow-roll space with it. I was a rock star. I had thirty knees and they were whipping around like a buzz saw on ‘roids. I felt like a purple belt, which is a very rare feeling for me. I hope Carlos saw at least a little of that.

Afterward, Lindsay, Casey, Carlos and I stripped half our clothes off and compared tattoos…many of which are Prof. Lindsey’s work. Casey has portraits of Carlos Gracie Sr and Helio in black and white on his flank. They look spectacular.

Back to work


In order to resist [suffering] for a long time, we have to be able to move the mind somewhere else. Beyond the body, beyond the sharp teeth of Pain. We can keep on suffering stoically….. or we can use it to learn to move our consciousness at will. Pain and fatigue exhaust the body until the rational mind, not the least intrigued by all of this, decides to take off and leave us free to explore other states of consciousness. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Photo: this is from the Grappleton. That’s Chris. 😉

Thursday lunchtime at Bellevue. I was so excited to see Chrisanne come in. I haven’t seen her in months.

You standing, partner in open guard. You grab hir left ankle with your right hand, place the heel on your hipbone, step your left toe in against hir butt and your rt heel to hir left hip. Bend your knees a bit. Pinch your knees together on hir thigh. Your elbow should be flared.

Now clamp the foot under your arm and let your right knee turn out so that you can drop on it, then onto your back. Do not drop straight back unless you hate your training partner and want to break hir ankle.

If you can’t finish the ankle lock, do a technical lift to get to back to standing, while thrusting your arm out to straightarm opponent in the chest to keep hir off you.

It’s always exhausting to do reps of a technique that has you getting down and then up, down and then up, down and then up……

Now, same opening, but when you try to finish the ankle lock, opponent hops hir butt over your foot.

You respond by keeping that foot clamped under your bicep (I found it really helpful to clench my hand on the ankle/heel), continue the roll in the same direction and end on your knees. your toe should be hooked over opponent’s thigh right at the groin. (If you stay choked up really tight on that foot, you really have no choice about that and it’s one less thing to have to think about.) This is kind of nasty, so I was really happy to be working with Chrisanne on this, and not with some big spaz (or with Hostility Boy, who was there today… lovely to see you home for the holidays buddy…NOT).

One roll with Chrisanne.

The Thursday no-gi class is gone (I was expecting that to happen). There is now an open mat at 4:30. The unfortunate thing is that there is a Monkey Bar Gym class and a Boxing class at 5:30, which means that if you want to do open mat and then regular class, you have to either stay for one of those things (and commit to 3+ straight hours of hard exercise) or have an hour to kill.

Today, though, the MBG had not begun yet, and no one else showed upfor open mat- so Kelly and I (who had coordinated to meet) ended up having two full hours to roll no-gi. It was great.

I spent a lot of time on the bottom as usual, but I did manage to do a little bit better at keeping her off me in order to play a little more open guard and even try for a few subs and other techniques from guard (a weakness for me).

We gave each other some good feedback, and did a little experimenting (most notably with Del a Riva). We also did a small amount of standup.

I overextended my left elbow. It wasn’t Kelly’s fault, it was an accident. I was able to continue, but it hurts. I’m irritated that this happened my first day back on the mats from my sprained-toe-benching. I had planned to do two classes tomorrow and one Saturday, so I hope it’s going to be functional in the morning. My toe is a little painful but almost fully functional.

Two Hours Of Kelly

bicep 001

A man who knows that body and spirit are part of each other doesn’t need anyone to remind him that he is alive, nor does he have any reason to upset the ecological balance. Only the sky above his head and the earth under his feet. His body is the only home. It is the only thing that never abandons him, the only one that truly belongs to him. Such an individual is a threat to every form of established authority. A wolf that can’t be tamed. He is not under anyone’s orders and doesn’t accept dogmas because he already has within himself everything he needs to face life. When streams of power flow in the veins of your body, dependency on external factors is reduced to a minimum. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday evening: aborted class. The guy with the key was a no-show. We stood around and debated the merits of practicing takedowns in the parking lot. Then we talked about BJJ. Then we talked about peeing on electric fences. (This is what you have to put up with when you hang around with groups of guys.)
Sat: 127.5

Open mat in Bellevue. I spent just over 2 hours rolling with Kelly, first no-gi and then gi, with about a 5-min break in between the two.

Pic- that’s my left bicep- seventeen separate finger/thumb marks! Cool, huh?!

Kelly’s doing phenomenal- she’s a beast! She was on top the *entire* afternoon- which, while frustrating, was good in that it forced me to work off my back a lot (where I’m weak). I feel like I got a lot of good practice/experience today.

She is one of the few people upon which I have difficulty executing the comb-over escape from front mount to half guard; her tiny little feet tuck up under my thighs and she’s so tight that I’m stuck.

She also executed the Move Of the Day from Thursday on me, three times… only finished it once, but it’s a sweet move, hard to see coming.

With her long legs, the “lockdown” is devastating… even when she just gets one of my legs, it HURTS (she’s bony, too), and I can’t do a whole lot while she’s got me transfixed there.

I made a point of telling her all the things she was doing that sucked the most for me, and encouraging her to do them even more.

Kitsune: Oooh. That really hurts when you do that, and the angle that it creates with my neck makes it really difficult to defend.
Kelly: Oh! Sorry!
Kitsune: No, keep doing it! Do it more! It’s great for you!

I worked a lot of open guard. I set up the lasso sweep that we learned on Friday, and was astonished when it actually worked! msn_red_fox_smilies-18 Then I played with that lasso foot on one side and spider guard on the other, and managed to sweep her a couple more times in different ways. That’s really exciting, as sweeps are by far the WORST part of my game.

Another thing I was excited about- I managed to get a couple of armbar subs that weren’t really “techniques”, but improvised. Improvising is something else I don’t have a gift for, so it’s a thrill when I get something like that.

To work on: I am still letting myself get caught with one arm up by my head. I did it three times, and was cursing myself, although she was not taking advantage of it. After the third time, I asked her to clamp on a head-and-arm every time she saw me do that. She doesn’t feel solid with head-and-arm chokes, but I told her that as long as she had me well pinned, she had the leisure to adjust and play around till she got it. So that happened another four or so times. I really need to quit doing that. It is a terrible habit. I should start asking everyone to make a point of being ruthless about persuing me with that.

Tried for omoplatas several times, but only succeeded once. Chokes remain my most reliable tool… although I really am tickled about those creative armbars.

At one point we had stood up, and she jumped guard, catching me completely by surprise. I not only dropped us both like a rock, I had my fist wedged against her neck and thumped her a good one as she landed. She seemed to have hurt the back of head more, though. I felt terrible.