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.

Get off the wall.

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The applications change, but the core remains. Being able to use those core principles requires thorough knowledge of the subject and not just a shallow look. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Yard work in the morning.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup: judo grips. Grab your own lapel and turn your torso to break opponent’s lapel grip (do NOT step back as you do this). Pull hir toward you with your own lapel grip, stepping BACK with the same-side foot as you do so. This forces opponent to step forward. Drop to your knee (same side) and stick your other leg back behind you so that your own knee will not be in the way as you grab opponent’s heel (NOT HIR PANTS CUFF) and lift the foot. Pull on the lapel to assist opponent’s fall. Side control.

Same entry, but before you can get side control, opponent swings far leg over to try to replace guard. Lunge forward and hug the thigh with the arm closest to opponent. Your head should be on the back of hir thigh. If you were smart, you did not let go of the ankle. Keep pressing that down to the mat so that you can scoot around to the opposite side. Side control. (Don’t forget to go over the arm and under the head- I caught this error again and corrected it just as Carlos was coming over to correct me).

You have spider guard with feet on hips. Bring right foot over-and-in-and-around to “lasso”. Opponent drops that knee to the mat. Bring that SAME FOOT underneath your other foot and hook the toe under hir other knee. Pause to pinch the arm between your knees and yank it in a bit. Now take the other foot off the hip and place it on the floor. sweep. Side control. Note that if you keep control of that arm and bend your leg, you can trap the arm with your leg as you sit up, which is a lovely detail.

Same entry, adding the same replace-guard attempt and pass as on the earlier technique.

Chrisanne did not show up tonight, and there was an odd number on the mat, so as usual I was the last kid picked for the kickball team. Carlos was waving simultaneously at the two white belt girls and at Casey & Allison. Good for me, for once I did not do the self-deprecating thing and automatically go with the white belt girls- I picked Casey & Allison. Bad for me, as soon as I got over there, I tried to self-deprecate anyway and huddle against the wall. Carlos is like, “GET OFF THE WALL.” When there is a triad drilling, he wants to see quick and lively switching out; he does not want to see someone parked against the wall for minutes at a time. I had never seen this sweep before and I was anxious about messing it up in front of the brown belt and almost-brown-belt, but the only time I really faltered was when Casey distracted me by asking me unrelated-to-jiu-jitsu questions while I was trying to do the drill. I had to tell him to shut up and quit distracting me.

Didn’t stay for sparring because I have been feeling a little weird all day. A little nausea, and off-and-on slight swimmy-head feeling. I hydrated some more but it didn’t seem to help. Not sure what’s up.

I’m going to get a dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will be doing a lot more walking once I have a hiking buddy.

Oh yeah- osoto gari me again!

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The overwhelming majority of training and drilling focuses on technique and not on applying judgement to situations, which is completely bass-ackward. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Thursday lunchtime at Bellevue. So excited to see one of my very favorite partners: Nelson! We did a lot of standup today, and Nelson is probably the best person in the whole GBNW to do that with. He’s not much bigger than I, and he is an excellent judo practitioner, as well as a very helpful suggestion-giver.

Standing guard pull (Nelson suggests that I pay more attention to eliminating my telegraph- ie, yanking on the grips just before I execute the guard pull.)

Single-leg takedown to KOB

Same, add spinning armbar. This particular permutation had us grabbing the belt, which is something I do not do often. Of course on my first rep, I tried to grab for the pants (hell, at least I TRIED to grab SOMETHING, for which I give myself credit, for as we know, I suffer from persistant “forget-to-keep-hold-of-the-pants-osis”). I couldn’t reach, and Carlos was cracking up. “That ees why I tell you to grab thee BELT.” Yes sir.

Armbar from front mount- no, wait, it only LOOKS like you’re going for an armbar. Once you yank opponent up on hir side, Keep the knee that is behind the opponent lower than you otherwise would. Latch on a head-and arm (gable grip). Do not get sloppy and hasty here. It must be well-placed, tight and your hands must be fully locked. Strangely enough, it works ten times better on my stupid side. Now roll opponent to the opposite side and place the second hook. If you positioned your knee wrongly at the start, you end up trapping your own leg and not being able to get both hooks in.

A little positional sparring from front mount and from standup. Again- standup with Nelson is awesome. Of course you are not going to get anything that he doesn’t LET you get, but you won’t get brutalized and you experience a lot of interesting ways to fall on your ass (and your side, and your back, and your face).

Standup usually taking it out of me more than most things, I was unfortunately too tired to spar. If Nelson had stayed, I would have forced myself, but he didn’t.

Went from there to Lindsey’s studio to have a little green bamboo colored in. 2 hours of RIBS and a little back waistline… two of the absolute most painful areas, and color (which is more painful than linework, I don’t care what people say). This was the most painful tat session I have had to date, and it still hurts like a mother this morning. The green looks incredible on my paper-pale skin, though. Lindsey also kept making comments along the line of “Vic, come and look at this badass bamboo” and “Damn, this turned out nice” which is exactly what you want to hear from your tattoo artist (especially when s/he’s working on parts you can’t watch).

Thursday Dawn Patrol

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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.

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.

Push it, old folks….

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Even more than strength and agility, awareness is our best weapon: a dynamic awareness that can look simultaneously into the present, the future, and the past. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.

Drills:

Single leg setups

Single leg setup with takedown

Single leg setup with takedown- opponent grabs half guard- you turn toward hir feet, pressure on neck, pop knee out, turn toward hir head, knee slide through, UNDERHOOK (this was the part I got reprimanded for missing), KOB.

Second verse, same as the first; only now when you KOB, opponent turns into you and places hand on your knee. You take the arm closest to hir feet, underhook hir arm, twirl around hir head and armbar. Opponent does hitch hicker escape, gets to knees. You scoot into hir and grab half guard. S/he does the escape describes in the previous section, to KOB. Rinse, repeat.

I was working with Robert, and I hope I didn’t drive him nuts today, because I was not only tweaking his technique (which got better and better as the hour went on) but cheerleading him relentlessly to push his exhaustion envelope. For those of us who are not 22 any more, I feel that it really lights a fire under our training to give that percieved limitation a big old EFFFF YEEEWWW every once in a while. Besides, it makes such a difference to work with training partners who push you and take a real interest in your progress.

Cindy came in at the end, and it was tortuous to not stay and play with her- but I promised Chrisanne I would be in Bellevue tonight, and I don’t know if I would have enough gas to do so if I stayed to spar this morning.

Hurts so good

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The people without great talent but with desire tend to become the technicians. When others are more talented, you must be more skillful to win. Most of the really superb martial artists and fighters I’ve known have been runts with a drive to win. Small and weak, they couldn’t afford to be merely good. They had to be fantastic to hold their own. –Rory Miller

Saturday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.

Warmed up with Coach Dynamo- mostly sitting on top of each other in turn and groping for sub grips that we couldn’t get.

Drills to exhaustion:

Standup- Single leg

Guard pass to kimura

Opponent double-legs, you sprawl, crossface, move to side, double-unders, pull opponent into your back mount

Lots of getting up and getting down; this is always a vast amount of hard work.

Triple-partnered with Angela and Kelly, all of us going 110%.

Too tired to stay for 2nd hour “competition” class.

Thighs (lower fronts) aching by the time I got home. Usually it takes till the next morning- or at least that evening- before noticable muscle aches set in, so I know we worked hard. Always nice to work with Angela and Kelly. They take it seriously and bust buns.