The meanest one of all


The only thing easier than the physical part (of self defense) is the intellectual understanding of the physical part. And that is sometimes a trap. Knowing the words is not the same as knowing the music. Knowing something with your head alone is almost useless when it comes time to apply those skills with your body under stress. But people often believe that knowing is the same as understanding, and that the ability to talk about things or answer questions is in some way correlated with the ability to do those things. It is not.
–Rory Miller

Thursday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Short warm-up roll with Casey.

Standup, judo grips. With your sleeve-grip hand, slide fingers down opponent’s sleeve to your own lapel and briskly snap lapel out of hir hand while you turn out slightly. Kneel between hir feet, turned slightly out toward your lapel-grip hand (which grip you have retained) and use that lapel grip hand to yank opponent into your fireman’s carry. Carlos stresses that you must not curl into a “c” shape when you kneel- body should remain upright. Don’t dump to the back or front- dump hir right on hir head.

Same, only opponent sprawls. Transition to single-leg. Peter was praising my single-leg effusively, which was weird since I’ve struggled so much with it and continue to do so.

You are under side control, opponent has both arms on hir own side. Buck up slightly and place hand nearest opponent on your ear. Now push and shrimp; shove your other arm under opponent’s armpit as far as you can. As soon as you have room to do so roll on your belly. (Note that if you fail to control opponent’s other arm, s/he will crossface you and force you back down.) I have always resisted rolling onto my belly in this technique. I feel very vulnerable. Carlos demo’ed how it is actually pretty impossible for the opponent to prevent you from moving from belly-down to turtle no matter how much s/he sprawls.

Next, tuck right up beside opponent, shove the knee nearest hir in there and force hir over into side control. As you slide on, switch to scarf.

KOTH starting from side control: escape vs mount. I was on top of (huge, brown belt) Jim- whom I rarely work with- at one point. He commented afterward (admiringly, not critically(!)) that I was “the meanest one of all” because as soon as I took side control, I shoved my forearm bone against his jaw and made him turn his head. Good thing Cindy was not there to hear that comment. YES, this is the same technique that I did to E-man some three years ago which causes her to STILL TODAY run around telling everyone that I “neck crank little kids”. It is not the least bit mean- and I have such a low bar for “mean”… it’s not painful at all, it’s just pushing the face away in order to make it more awkward to see what I’m setting up. When I came through the line and got Jim a second time, he looked up from the floor, saw me looming over him, and whimpered, “Oh my God!” It was pretty funny. He also had good things to say about my sprawl.

A long, pleasant roll with Chris.

I have been putting a lot of thought into the defeatism issue that I discussed after Proving Grounds. It has become impossible to avoid the reality check that I routinely surrender every single roll before it even starts. Anything I might get, I assume it’s because my opponent was being nice and gave it to me. If they praise me- as two people independently did tonight- I can’t accept that. I assume they are just saying it to be nice (probably because I suck so horribly that they feel sorry for me). I have mentioned this before… it’s not like I wasn’t aware of this all along… but I didn’t really see that I am doing it EVERY…..SINGLE…….TIME. Tournaments are disturbing because it somehow feels less acceptable to meekly resolve to lose every roll in a comp than it does to meekly resolve to lose every roll on the practice mat. I think that terror of “escalation” is a factor as well in comp- it feels like the situation is dangerously and intimidatingly “escalated” right from the get-go, so instead of rising to meet the challenge, I am simply “struggling” (as opposed to “fighting”), being defensive, and trying to “de-escalate”.

Also a factor, of course, is the fear of failure. If you don’t try, you can’t really fail- because you can still tell yourself, “Well, I *could* do it, if I was really trying.” How unthinkably awful it would be to REALLY try and find that you STILL couldn’t do it. That’s just the endpoint of it all. There ain’t noplace to go from there.

I have not yet come up with any constructive ideas for trying to work on this.

It does occur to me that blowing off positive feeback from my training partners is actually a form of disrespect to them. Feedback from your training partners is a gift. Presumably they are trying to help you, and not just coddling you and blowing smoke up your ass. If you respect that person as a martial artist, one should respect their viewpoint and advice, and assume that they know what they are talking about.

Thursday Dawn Patrol


The best commander attacks when the least skilled is still busy making plans. –Sun Tzu

Dawn Patrol at Seattle.

I missed the warmup.

Single leg takedowns. Drop inside knee between hir feet, Head pressed to hir belly and looking in, grab behind heel and thigh behind knee. Lots of details for me to mix up. Had to think hard every time. Still used wrong knee, head wrong way, forgot to grab heel. Also dropped knee on Steve’s toe twice. I suck. 😦

Drilling side control escapes, scarf escapes.

Basic guard break. First with someone your own size (Steve), then with someone of a different body type (the blue belt cop who is built like a granite statue).

One roll with Steve and one with the Granite Statue. It’s so nice to work with Steve. He’s my size, and very good, and a heck of a nice guy. Both guys complimented me sincerely on my BJJ. I appeared to be a purple belt again today.