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.

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Tons o’ pressure

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Violence works. It is something that bad guys use to get what they want. When people look for the sources of violence or seek peace, this is the elephant in the room that everyone ignores. As long as violence works, some people will use it. -Rory Miller

Friday in Bellevue. I wanted some time to work on my knotty thigh muscles with the foam roller, but just as I started that, Luis wanted to flow roll- so of course that was too good to pass up.

Pummelling.

Self-defence- opponent front kicks at your belly, you deflect with your outside arm and then elbow strike to face with your opposite arm. I prefer the feel of using the same arm, braced with the second arm. But the critical part of this feels to be the circular dragon-ish flow. It’s been years since I’ve done this technique, and yet found myself right back to being paralyzed with left/right indecision as soon as I asked my partner to mix up the kicking leg.

From standup- opponent pulls guard and hold your head on hir chest. You make “L” shapes with your blade hands and thumbs, stick them in hir armpits and push yourself down as you move your head to the side and free it. Press one or both of foe’s hands to hir chest. Push one knee down and pass with your near knee sliding over hir thigh. Move to side control.

Same entry, only now opponent puts knee shield up as you try to pass. Scoop under the thigh and pass to the other side, with tons o’ pressure.

Since it was hot as a frying pan even with the garage door open, Chrisanne and I took off our gi tops and had several good, hard no-gi rolls. I was very determined to not let her turtle, since her turtle is a bitch that I have a very hard time attacking. She still got into it a few times, but less often than usual. I got a few taps, which made me happy, as she is quite hard to tap these days. I could see her getting frustrated, though, so made sure to give good feedback. She left me some gnarly bruises tonight.

Careful, Carlos will yell at you!

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In all athletic disciplines, it is the internal work that makes the physical mat time click, but it is easy to lose touch with this reality in the middle of the grind. – Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

Thurs evening No-gi in Bellevue.

Pummelling to backtake. Carlos emphasizes the changing of levels as you duck under foe’s arm (which I always want to cheat because of my poor knees). I am good about remembering to always capture an arm as I take the back, but I’m not good about remembering to capture the correct arm. I am aware that part of my sloppiness and reluctance about getting and maintaining wrist grips (especially in no-gi) is because my brain assumes that with most partners, I will not be able to keep the grip due to the largeness of their wrist versus the smallness of my hand. I think I am also subconsciously timid about injuring my thumb. Carlos usually uses a “C” grip. I don’t feel secure with that grip. I should experiment with it more often, though.

You standing, opponent lying on hir back with soles toward you. Place palms on hir belly (Note- have elbow bent and splayed a bit outward so as not to invite an armbar.). Dance feet from side to side, ending in a partial squat with alternating opponent’s feet between your knees. After a few reps, slide near knee over hir thigh and pass. UNDERHOOK THE FAR ARM (this is my persistent weakness) and trap near arm under your own armpit.

You standing, opponent sitting, handfighting. Grab foe’s ankles and rocking-chair hir back. As s/he sits up again and tires to grab half guard, grab hir right ankle with your L hand and press your rt palm to hir ribs. (Note- have elbow bent and splayed a bit outward so as not to invite an armbar. Also, so not let hir put that sole on the floor.) Press hir to the floor with that rt hand as you half-squat in standing half guard setup. Donkey-kick the RIGHT foot back (more challenge for me here, trying to remember which foot) and slide your thigh under hir rt thigh (now both hir legs are on your rt side). Pass guard, pressuring on the now-pretzeled opponent trapped under you. Opportunity here to snug your right arm in nice and tight for a little bit of a neck-crank if you want to be a douche. More challenge for me at THIS point figuring out where to put the opponent’s arms. I get confused on where I want to underhook, and I tend to sloppily leave at least one arm free to fight me. It’s so easy to get hyperfocussed on that juicy neck.

Same entry. As opponent rocking-chairs up and tries to hug your leg, you hook rt hand behind hir neck and place controlling elbow on hir breastbone. Yank hir elbow up and insert your knee into the space. Pass. Again, don’t get sloppy about trapping arms here. This is a variation on one of my favorite passes, and I was able to do it pretty smoothly, although I had to be really careful on Chrisanne’s ribs. I was also able to give her good constructive criticism on her controlling-elbow action (“Feel the way I brace this elbow?” “EeeRRRRRkkkk… yeah .” “You do the same thing to me.”).

These last two techniques had a lot of steps, and I remember how freakin’ frustrated I used to get as a white and blue belt trying to remember all the steps with the details and sequencing. It’s much better now. I still struggle some, but not nearly as bad as I used to. I don’t think this is a result of me getting better (ha ha), but I have seen most of this stuff in some form or other so that it’s not quite as much rote memorization of completely foreign choreography.

Same entry, but when opponent rocking-chairs up, you guillotine. Carlos wanted us to press our abs on the top of the person’s head. I feel great setting up the guillotine (it has always been one of my favorites), but it was really weird to position the head so centrally. I also couldn’t get over the feeling that that ought to be considered a neck crank. I am aware of having annoyed both Carlos and Cindy by continually asking “why isn’t (insert technique they just taught) a neck crank?” It’s a legitimate question, and I really want to know- but after seeing the expression on their faces the last few times I asked this, I felt like I had better quit asking. (Maybe I can ask Doug later on….) Note- try to get the bone at the base of the thumb right into the throat. Makes a huge difference. When Chrisanne did this, it made me want to tap as soon as she placed it there, even BEFORE she placed her belly on my head or did any pulling at all.

Positional training starting from one person standing, one person sitting on hir foot, rotating partners. After I lost Chrisanne, I had all huge guys- so I did not do too well with this. (The first was Big John, who is Big indeed, but experienced to be careful….. even so, Carlos stood over us and was like, “Be careful. Be careful. Don’t put your hand there Watch your weight. Be careful.”)

One roll with Chrisanne and one with Ben. Ben is definitely approching black belt level. He so effortlessly pretzels me any way he wishes. I tried to set up a kneebar, and he said, “Careful, Carlos will yell at you.” YES, I know!! Carlos wasn’t looking, so I got away with it, although of course Ben easily shucked me off and triangled me.

I had really wanted to do a hard workout tonight. But I (surprise surprise) slept poorly and was pretty tired…was feeling some various and sundry injuries hampering me….. also, I had to take a decongestant before class. By the time I drove home, I was reeling with exhaustion, even though it was supposedly a nondrowsy variety. I think I still managed to put in a decent class (and stayed for two rolls after- yay me), but not as hard as I had wanted to work.

I have been good about eating tons of eggs lately. Mostly scrambled, although I found some frozen meat fritattas in the half-off section at the Safeway deli and really liked them. I am going to try to make my own slightly modified version.

Having a LOT of trouble controlling my snacking and binge-eating at work. There is so often junk food there, even if I manage to refrain from bringing any with me. I have even resorted to the vending machine a couple of times lately, which I am usually too cheap to do- I need to NOT allow that to become a habit. I can feel the conditioning kicking in and I’m wanting to search for stuff to put in my mouth as soon as I finish my initial maintenence tasks and get a breather in the work flow. On Tuesday there was a trail mix in the break room. It had chocolate chips in it. After I had picked at this for a while despite myself, I took it down to the coat room to get it out of my sight. (Assistant: “Hey, where are you going with that? (looking like kicked puppy) “Well, I brought it to share… but maybe I just won’t bring it any more.” I tried to explain that I was watching my weight and I can’t have snacks (especially chocolate) sitting at my elbow, but I managed to offend her. There’s also one other assistant in particular who loves to bake and is always bringing in cookies and crap. She also gets all wilted and sad-puppy-faced if I put her stuff in the coat room. This is frustrating. It feels like even when I’m trying, other people are actively sabotaging me. I know they don’t mean any harm, which makes me feel like a terrible person for hurting their feelings. But geez. Healthy eating is difficult enough without it being a social minefield with the people I have to work with every day.)

Front mount to S mount

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Fighting is almost always ego driven. –Rory Miller

I’m doing Vic’s 30 day plank challenge. Starting today at Day 2 because I just now found out about it. I flatter myself that I have halfway decent ab muscles, but I do not plank, so it’s entirely possible that I may be in for a rude awakening.

My trick wrist- the one that Carlos wristlocked when he first came here- was troubling me yesterday and today. Mostly during the open guard butt scoot warmups yesterday. I was mostly fine during the sparring. I’m wary, though, as the wrist tends to give me problems for a few weeks at a time once it starts hurting. Hope it won’t affect the plank challenge.

Saturday no-gi at Kirkland.

There were some painful techniques on tap today, and Cindy told me to be grateful that Dave was there to be the demo dummy…. and I truly was, as they are things that Cindy has done to me before and the memory of agony is fresh. I feel terrible as I watch Dave’s face contort. The vein on his temple starts bulging out and turning purple, too.

I was drilling with Andrew, who is fairly large, but he was very nice to me and careful. Dave, though, didn’t hear me say “tap” during the positional sparring, and continued to pull something that torqued the sheet out of my ankle and knee until I yelled “TAP- TAP- TAPTAP!!!!!” I know he would never do that on purpose, but dang, that hurt.

First we did some pummelling, then triangle drills, then armbar from guard drills (lawd I hate those!)

Front mount to S mount with seatbelt grip. Then front mount to S mount to armbar. Then front mount to S mount to torquing opponent’s own arm around hir neck and bellying hir down to the mat.

I struggled with many things today. Several of them were very basic white belt errors that I should not be making. Others of them were failing to correctly follow all the steps even after multiple explanations and demos. Cindy was getting frustrated with me, to my dismay and chagrin.

Positional sparring from front mount. Then a roll with Wayne. I haven’t done no-gi in a long time, and found myself frustrated with the lack of grips.

Stayin’ Alive

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Everyone has a button, you just have to find it and press it under the right circumstances. So the goal is to find the buttons and push them in this type of training, in a safe environment. Not to hurt feelings, but to identify a button someone might use against the student in the real world and take that button away from the bad guys. Make it a non-issue. –Campfire Tales From Hell

10/2:
Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. All spars. I held my own today, but nothing stellar. I was able to keep moving around and defend most of the subs from the colored belts, and control the single white belt (granted, he was being nice and not using his extraneous weight and strength).
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10/9:
Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

All drills. Armbars from guard, several different types of standing guard passes, spinning armbars. I was drilling with Dex, who is doing Monkey Bar Gym *and* cagefighting, and is in insane shape, so I had to hustle to be a decent partner. Even he was whining about the armbars from guard (I hate that drill, after the first twenty second or so… the first twenty seconds are fine, but it gets slow and painful quickly after that).

While we were standing on the wall watching demo’s, the stereo started playing “Stayin’ Alive”. I cannot believe that a whole line of people can stand there without dancing, without even head-bobbing, while the stereo is blasting “Stayin’ Alive”. What’s wrong with these young people today??!? It’s probably a good thing that none of my close compadres were there, or things probably would have gotten more out of hand than they did.

One roll with Amy- yes, the blue belt cage fighter. I started from standup with her, and she got a nice sacrifice takedown. She was in control about half the time, and spent the other half fighting my open guard. Knowing that she is an MMA fighter, I played spider guard. They hate that. Heh heh heh. She did not tap me, but she would have won on points from the takedown plus advantages.

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Thursday evening BJJ in Kirkland.

Lots of pummelling… Dave likes to tire us out with this before technique….

You on your back, partner standing, your feet on hir hips… s/he tosses your feet to one side, you hip out, cross the OUTSIDE foot over top to replace your feet on hir hips, repeat to other side. I tend to get sloppy with both the hip-out and the bracing on partner’s shins, because I can do it facter just by hiking up on my shoulders and letting my supreme flexibility and dexterity do all the work…. but Dave didn’t like that. 😦

Partner on hir back, knees up, you standing…. shove knees to one side and go to KOB. Dave reprimanded me for placing my outside foot too close to my partner’s head instead of keeping my feet parallel. When I did it his way, it was A LOT MORE WORK. 😦 He’s mean, isn’t he?

Keylocks, failed keylock to straight armbar, a weird sort of upside-down keylock with the elbow straight…. my brain has always had a difficult time parsing this one….

Head and arm choke.

I was working with Irwin, who is a huge guy, but so sweet, and super-careful about trying to not hurt me. I had to tell him several times that he needed to grab harder, choke harder, push harder…. don’t worry, I’ll tell you if you’re hurting me, and as long as you put on a sub nice and slow, trust me to tap when I need to.

One roll with Dave. I made myself keep moving and not stall out under him. Man, he is working rings around me now, though. He has gotten so good. And he has Cindy’s fingerprints all over him. Lucky dog.

It’s illegal

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Stealing from the gods the fire of passion and creativity to lighten our life is just the first step of the trip, not the destination. Passion and creativity are not our private property, not our very own toys. They are the sparks lighting the fire of a big tribal camp. Having talent and not cultivating it is a crime, but cultivating it without sharing its fruits with others may be even worse. In its highest form, the way of the warrior is that of the bodhisatva: putting one’s talent at the service of a superior destiny. Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Lunchtime no-gi at Kirkland.

Some pummelling, some double leg setups. The double leg setups we were doing today…. 1)begin with feet square so as not to telegraph. 2)begin at very close range. 3) from pummel, make sure you trap or duck under opponent’s wrist on that side when you drop. 4)Step FAR in. I never step far enough. Foot should be between opponent’s feet and BEHIND them. 5)placement of the OTHER foot is eternally problematic for me. I tend to step *too* far forward with that one, and also too close to opponent. (See how I have exact opposite problems with each foot? Welcome to my world.) The hand placement, the upright back, and the head pressure I seemed to be doing (mostly) right this time (note this is about the eight millionth time Cindy has gone over this technique on a personal and intensive level with me).

Keylocks from front mount. I was corrected for failing to use the thumbless “monkey paw” grip. Also for not having the elbow close enough to the opponent’s head. When jumping from low grapevining front mount to high mount in the armpits, move more quickly. Pull the head off the mat to keep opponent from bridging.

If opponent joins hands to defend the keylock, go to kimura grip. I need to focus on keeping opponent’s arm folded firmly. S mount. Take the foot closest to opponent’s head and fold the shin back along hir back. Pull opponent’s head and shoulders into your lap. This rolls hir over your shin, which you can now use to pin hir arm. Opponent is now in a triangle, facing away from you, with hir head and shoulders in your lap. Choke way up to right under hir armpit- you do not want opponent’s ribs inside this triangle. Now you can let go of the kimura grip and grab your own ankle as you post on the mat with your other hand. Readjust the triangle so that your shin is shoved horizontally right under opponent’s chin. Now you have to scoot yourself all the way around hir head until you are lying on your side and can grab one of opponent’s legs.

This particular technique makes me very, very relieved that Dave is now usually the demo dummy. This one hurts. Badly. In all sorts of ways.

A few rolls- Dave, Cindy, a guy I don’t know. I wasn’t doing very well today in the sparring. Last night I had been marvelling that I felt competant in sparring, so I’m not surprised… it is common to have a “wow, I suck” day right after you start to feel like you might know what you are doing. BJJ likes to keep you humble that way.

Cindy also informed me that the bicep slicer that Prof Herbert showed us last night is illegal. Dang. I liked that trick. Herbert failed to mention that it is illegal. I’m really glad she told me that before I did it to somebody.

Chopped off all my hair today. Feeling kind of self conscious. With the long, long, red “mermaid hair”, that’s all everyone ever looks at. Now I feel like people might notice my body and clothes or something. It’s sure going to be nice to be able to do BJJ for a while without that spandex cap, though. And without having wet hair for three hours after the shower.

More side control escapes

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Just like animals attack when they perceive fear and weakness, people can unconsciously feel a person’s power and will probably avoid conflict with those who are animated by deep self-confidence. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Friday lunchtime BJJ in Kirkland.

Pummelling with rotating partners. This is always exhausting, and I was feeling limp before the warmup was done. The comp is next weekend and I’m feeling anxious about making weight. I don’t think I ate enough this morning to get through a BJJ class.

Side control escapes.

Underhook, roll, shrug, and go to side/back before the opponent gets fully settled. My weak point continues to be the shrug, although I am getting faster with the roll (at least till I start getting gassed).

Same thing as training partner moves from your closed guard and tries to pass to side control.

Opponent in top scarf- push face away, swing legs out, hook leg over opponent’s face and push down/sit up. Cindy likes to have us do this back and forth as a continual drill. (Again- exhausting)

Same thing as training partner moves from your closed guard and tries to pass to scarf.

A little positional sparring from 1)locked on side control, and 2)about-to-lock-onto-side-control.

A spar with Dave, one with Cindy, one with a white belt champion Tai Kwon Do guy. Too tired to take on Lamont.

Defensive corsets

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If you would have trouble shooting the mentally disabled, you have the two concepts of self-defense and justice intertwined. You want whatever force you use to be used on someone who is bad- or, preferably, evil. That does make the conscience easier. Unfortunately, you can be hurt or killed by people who may not be able to understand the ramifications of what they do. –Rory Miller

Belly band holster feels like a corset. Next to the skin is not very comfortable. Over a cotton shirt, under a scrub top, is fine. Will try over a cami/under a t-shirt next.

Friday at Kirkland, the location’s first no-gi class.

Pummelling. Situp sweep. Failed situp sweep to guillotine.

Failed situp sweep to this: wrap your arm over opponent’s head so that the back of hir neck is in your armpit. Underhook hir armpit. You can gable-grip your hands here if you wish. If you’re mean like Cindy ( 😉 ), you can dig your elbow right into hir spine as you sweep (or armbar, if s/he is too stubborn to go with the sweep).

I had to leave before the rolling, as it was a work night.

Surprise, we’re doing no-gi tonight.

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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.