I’ve got all the answers. Well, THIS one, at least.

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”We either make ourselves miserable,
or we make ourselves strong.
The amount of work is the same.”
– Carlos Castaneda

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Man, I wish I could get to class more often. I was so happy to be in class. Carlos even remarked on the fact that I was laughing a lot today.

We did a bunch of spider guard sweeps that had about 862 steps with 5 critical little details in each step, and I have just tried and failed to transcribe any of them… although with Camille’s help, I did okay performing them. She is better than I am at regurgitating long sequences of choreography, which is a persistent struggle for me.

I had one delicious moment of triumph today. Carlos demo’ed to the middle of one of these sequences, and said, “Now what if your opponent does THEES right now?” The front half of the line shouted several suggestions, all of which Carlos tried and demonstrated the wrongness of. Then he told us to experiment with our partners and see if we could figure out something that would work. I immediately hipped out and transitioned to an armbar- AND I WAS RIGHT(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I was the only one who figured it out!!!!!!!!! To be fair, this was partly because we had been doing sweeps all day and everyone else was searching for a way to salvage the failed sweep. Whereas I- either because I still retain a ridiculous amount of always-attacking Tiger attitude, or just because my sweeps suck- went for a sub instead.

Related and funny: at one point, the prof noted that during the sequence of one of these sweeps, we must pause and remove our opponent’s arm from the place where it naturally ends up, because if we fail to do so, it turns into a bicep slicer and we will get DQ’ed. He demo’ed the bicep slicer, and obviously noted my eyes lighting up (as they do whenever a choice bit of “bonus violence” presents itself). He looked at me sternly and said, “Keetsune. You do thees in competition?” “No sir.”

One spar with Camille, one with the tattooed purple belt whose name I can never remember, one with Jason. All fun rolls. Tattoed purple belt keeps pulling guard on me, and I tried to tell him that I’d like to work standup and that it’s okay for him to take me down, as long as he doesn’t slam me. He’s one of those people who insists on being a little *too* careful with me.

Had to skip the structured dog walk tonight…. even January would have been disenchanted with the freezing rain. We have been hearing all week about this monster storm that’s supposed to be coming in, and apparently the world is supposed to end and everything, but it has yet to materialize (except for some freezing rain). Rilla and I took dogs out in the rain yesterday (on her urging… we decided even 20 min was better than nothing…. if it had just been me I would have bailed, which is why I want walking partners to push me… I thanked her), and the sun ended up coming out and we walked for 2 hours. Particularly glad to get that in, in case we are stuck inside for the next week.

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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.

Ees THAT how eet’s done?

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During the rapid improvement period in skill learning, students are motivated by their rate of improvement. Their desire to learn is created by the success that they achieve. Concentration and commitment are facilitated by the rapid rate of technical development. However, once the rate of learning begins to slow down, it requires much more effort on the part of both the student and coach to maintain the attention and work rate. Eventually the leveling off of improvement begins to have a negative effect on the learning environment, which can bring about a reduction in performance. Tony Gummerson, “Teaching Martial Arts”

Two mile walk.

Thurs afternoon gi in Bellevue.

Double-leg setups.

Standup, with judo grips: let go of lapel grip and fake a grab at the leg to make opponent step back. Then you pull guard.

Same entry, only now opponent tosses elbow when you try to place your rt foot on hir bicep. Drop that foot to hir hip (heel OUT!) Move right hand to (cross) grip opponent’s right sleeve cuff. catch hir rt heel with your other hand. Drop your left leg on the mat to hook behind hir other leg. If s/he fails to let go of your lapel, s/he will do most of the work of pulling you up so that you can jump on top.

This is a sweet sweep, but the number of steps is daunting. If I try to go too fast, I start skipping pieces (usually the hooking foot behind the second leg).

As you roll up out of this, keep opponent’s foot trapped with your feet. Don’t let hir bend the leg, unless you want to end up in half guard. This leg trap can turn into a nice kneebar. Of course Carlos walked over and looked at me just as I discovered this. “Ees THAT how eet’s done, Keetsune? Like THAT?” “Uh, no, no sir, that is NOT how it’s done! No sir, no!”

Positional sparring, spider guard, pass vs prevent pass… then King Of the Hill, same exercise. I was fortunate enough to avoid the two big spazzy white belt guys who were flinging purple belts around trying to dislodge spider guard positions with the Captain Caveman Technique. Note that the pass where you change direction and move in backwards like you’re going to sit on their face doesn’t work on Mischa. Tried it twice and failed miserably both times. What DID work on him was a fine strategy of body-surfing versus hanging heavy while he was elevating me and trying to maneuver me into a bad position. I couldn’t stop him from picking me up, but by a couple of strategic postings and by playing sandbag at the right moments, I ended up causing him to inadvertantly maneuver me right into side control, ha ha.

That is terribly distracting.

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An attorney who in specializes in self-defense told me that of the 300 clients who said something to the police before talking to him, only two managed to NOT hurt their case. Those two didn’t help their case, they just didn’t hurt it any. If you are involved in a shooting, call the police, physically cooperate with them, but don’t say anything except you want to call your attorney. –Greg Hamilton

Thursday:
I didn’t write up the last two classes, because I was feeling frustrated and unable to focus on the constructive bits.

Today, all spars in Bellevue.

I keep wanting to call Justin “Jason” for some reason. So he started calling me “Tiffany” and it went rapidly downhill from there. Now I’m calling him anything with a J (Jerome, Jaylen, Jessie, Jordan) and he’s calling me prissy girly names (Brittany, Charity).
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Friday:

Standing guard pass, #1: You standing, holding opponent’s pants at the insides of the knees as s/he has one foot on your bicep and the other foot on your hip. Step to the “hip” side and thrust opponent’s knee to the floor. Scoot quickly back to the opposite side, while pressing the second leg down on top of the first. Drop to your knees behind hir butt (NOT further up, behind hir back) while blocking behind hir knees with your arm.

#2: Opponent has spider guard, you have the same grips as above. Press the knee to the mat on the side that they have the bent leg. Use your OPPOSITE foot (not the one on the same side, as I tried to do first and quickly found that that is completely unbalanced) to push that leg down. Do a lawnmower-starting motion with your arm on that side to shuck the sleeve grip. Now continue the pass as before. (I was a bit bummed that Christy was in class tonight- she does this pass to me all the time, and she makes it hurt…. she really does not need more practice on this rather painful technique!)

As the prof was explaining the technique, we were all suddenly very distracted by the sounds of a woman orgasming loudly from the next mat.

This was disquieting, as there was a Monkey Bar Gym class going on in there, and as far as I know they did not have an orgy planned for tonight’s class (altough perhaps they would get more membership signups if they did).

When I was going to the Gold Creek gym, there were occasionally men in the weight room who grunted like rutting water buffaloes while they lifted weights. I hate that. It is a sad attention-seeking tactic.

This was the first time I had heard a woman doing it, and it made me embarrassed to be female. She wasn’t even grunting- she was moaning and gasping. It truly sounded like nothing other than noisy intercourse, and it was embarrassing to be listening to while surrounded by a class full of men.

I told Carlos that I was unhappy… that that was distracting and inappropriate… hopefully he will talk to Greg, who will talk to the culprit- if it continues to happen, I will talk to Greg myself. I do not want to hear someone orgasming loudly in the background while I’m trying to focus on guard pass details.

One spar with Chrisanne and one with Christy.

“She’s tough!”

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Perfect is the enemy of good. – Voltaire

Saturday competition training in Seattle.

Lord, this comp class wipes me out. I don’t know how long I am going to be able to keep doing this. Usually I have to bail on the second hour- which I went in today determined to not do- but the cardio, at my age and carrying the ten extra pounds I’m currently carrying…. UUUUUUUURGGGGGGGGGGHHH. I was whimpering as I climbed out of the car back at the Mount Index Daunless Outpost after class. Right now my thighs ache the way they usually do the morning after. Which means tomorrow morning is going to suuuuuuuuuuuuuck. But what a great week of training!

Chrisanne hasn’t had a chance to work with Georgette yet, so I told her she could have first crack at asking Georgette to drill. She’s like, “Oh my God, no, I’m just a blue belt… you go ahead…” so I went to the locker room and told Georgette that Chrisanne really wanted to drill with her but was too shy to ask. 😉 I had been hoping that Z or (short) John would be there today, but none of my favorite men were there (unless you count Lindsey and Griff, whom I can’t really ask to drill unless they offer). I also didn’t want to shanghai Casey, because we had already used each other to warm up before class. Now that Pat is brown, I feel a little awkward asking him to drill an entire class with me unless he offers first. This put me with Emma, a white belt that I seem to recall working with once or twice before. She had weight on me as well as enough skill to match if not dominate me.

Standup- one lapel grip that you can’t let go of; try to get a takedown. I couldn’t get anything on Emma, who has very superb reaps and was also trying a few other things.

Standup to pulling half guard.

We were doing some rather complex multi-step drills, and it was a struggle to get all the steps.

Opponent has spider guard. You pull back, squat, and pass your left hand UNDER the leg to grip inside of pantleg. Step to the opposite side and stand/yank upright, then crouch so that hir thigh is trapped atop yours. S/he tries to roll away, you take the back. It flows really well *IF* you shove your right knee between the floor and hir waist just as s/he rolls- the momentum seems to sorta suck you right into the gap and there you are with your hooks and choke sunk.

Opponent has Del a Riva. You turn your right knee (the one s/he has trapped) to the outside. (This same detail was in one of the techniques Carlos did with us earlier this week, so THAT step at least was easy). Then kick that same leg in the opposite direction, and pass to that side. DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTS during any of these passes, until you are well past and the position is secure- otherwise s/he will just roll away from you.

Lots of drill reps, interspersed with about a zillion more periods of takedown sparring, and some random positional sparring. All the takedown fighting, combined with the repetitive get-up-get-down of the half guard pulls, and all the get-up-get-down of those spider guard passes, had me reeling with exhaustion. I made a very poor account of myself against Emma, which was kind of embarrassing. I really notice how tired I get when we do drills that involve a lot of having to stand back up over and over, as opposed to drills where you just stay on the ground and roll/wiggle back into place after each rep.

I had wanted to get at least one roll with Georgette, but she had to go (which was probably just as well, since I’m not sure I had the energy left to fight off a newborn kitten at that juncture). I sat a while (mainly because I was wishing someone would come along to carry me out to the car), then noticed Lindsey sitting on the mat with his back to me. So of course I had to take it.

He stuck his head right up into my favorite gi choke, but I still couldn’t finish it on him. He explained that if I can crawl my guard up a little higher on his back and/or teepee my feet up a bit, I might be able to get that little bit extra enough to finish.

It was amusing to have both Chrisanne and Georgette come up to me separately afterward and say of one another, “She’s tough!”

I am considering calling out Anica for the next Revolution- not because I’m ready to compete again or because I think I can beat her, but because having a comp on my schedule seems to be the only way I can reliably discipline myself to get my weight back down to normal. If Georgette competed, we could have a three-woman purple belt bracket between 120 and 140.

This got me thinking again about my defeatism problems and my utter lack of making any progress on them. I don’t know what to do. I’m considering pinging Side Control (Dave) on FB and see if he has any advice. I don’t really have any reason to think he has the answers to this issue, but I’m just not feeling comfortable discussing this with any of the other black belts right now for some reason. I can’t really imagine any of them dealing with persistent and serious defeatist mindsets. Dave is at least near my age and he says he has a cruddy comp record at black, so maybe he would at least be able to relate a little easier than some of these BJJ machines.

I love getting my tail kicked by Chrisanne.

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At (long) range, you are taking fire. You may not know from where in that first instant. Hit or not, you have to MOVE. You were ambushed in this precise spot because it is the best place to kill you. You MUST get out of that spot (or “Off the X” as we say). –Rory Miller

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. I was standing on the wall minding my own damn business waiting for class to start, and Casey comes over and grabs me and tries to hurl me to the ground. We end up thrashing around like a couple of weasels while the entire rest of the class stands there in line and watches, making comments about the “mutter…mutter… purple belts….”

Standing: ankle pick as yesterday. I’m noticing that with your lapel grip, you can shove the opponent to either side to finish the takedown. Pushing often works better (and is less work) than pulling.

Bullfight pass to KOB

Failed bullfight pass to underhook both of hir thighs, stack, and pass. I don’t try to set this up often- I feel vulnerable sticking both arms under like that- but I love the way the pass itself feels; I like to grab the tag of the opponent’s pants and stack the crapola out of hir and then squish down on top of hir thigh until s/he’s begging to let me pass. At the same time, you can grind into the throat and/or twist the head away by levering on the jaw with the other forearm. It’s lovely.

Positional sparring from spider guard, varying goals. My suckage at passing spider guard is trumped only by my suckage at trying to sweep from spider guard. But I can hang out *IN* spider guard effortlessly defending the pass until the second coming of Christ.

Some epic sparring with Chrisanne. We started from standing multiple times. She got a couple of really sweet takedowns, and some lovely technical taps. Nice and tight. She is almost never on the bottom any more, and she is always attacking instead of waiting to react to what I do. When we scramble, she gets on top first. Her game has changed 180 from eight months ago. I love it when Chrisanne is kicking my tail. It makes me feel so proud. I am getting to the point of going close to full bore on her, too.

FTS

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“It’s not ‘I get a turn and then you get a turn’… it’s all my space and it’s always my turn” – Greg Hamilton

Wednesday:

I bailed on Saturday’s ceremony.

I feel terrible about it. It is not in my nature to flake out on commitments. In fact I reserve some of my most venomous contempt for people who do that. If I tell you that I am going to do X, then you can rest assured that by God I am going to do X, even if I have to move Heaven and Earth to get it done. I have gone to ridiculous lengths to fulfill minor obligations. It is a pillar of my personal identity- my moral integrity. And this is Jen’s biggest event of the year. Only three days away. And I’m well aware that she was already electrified with stress even BEFORE I bailed.

I assured Jen yesterday (for about the fourth time) that I would indeed be there and that I would be ready to do my part. This was not good enough for her. Over the course of the day she sent me four more messages bugging me for further intercourse. She wanted assurance that there is not friction between us, and she still wanted me to explain exactly what I planned to do (right down to what I was fucking THINKING) so that (presumably) she could inform me that I was “doing it wrong”. When I saw all those missives piled in my box, I was like, that’s it- Fuck This Shit. Aside from my own discomfort- which is a negligible consideration weighed against the integrity of my commitment- it is plain at this point that she is stressing over this to a level that I truly think that dealing with me was causing her more angst than having to replace me will.

I hate drama. I have a traumatic past in drama. I do not appreciate people trying to drag me into their drama when I have made it clear that I do not wish to go there. The last thing I wanted was a BEDS (Big Emotional Drama Scene) three days before the event. Unfortunately, there was *NO* way to get around it. I’m sure I’m going to get some guilt-inducing and stressful nastygrams. But seriously, I think any reasonable person would have said FTS a long time ago. I’m done.
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Thursday:

I blocked Jen for the time being; I will probably have to read her mail at some point, and it’s going to upset me, but I didn’t want to even be tempted to engage in any further drama before the rit- nor do I want to get talked into changing my mind about quitting.

Another community member messaged me when he saw that I was leaving. He’s watched Jen do this same thing to a number of people, so we indulged in a little pop-psychology analysis. It’s an interesting study in self-sabotage. It’s always easier to dissect these things when it’s not you. I don’t think I was self-sabotaging, in this case, although certain other of my problem issues definitely played a role. Yet since self sabotage is a persistant crime of mine, particularly visible in my MA training, it warrents pondering as pertains to my own situation.

Lamont messaged me to mention the Proving Grounds Championship. I figured I wouldn’t qualify anyway, but apparently I do. I had skipped the Revolution this past weekend, and had not planned to do the PGC or anything else. I still haven’t come up with any new insights or ideas on the defeatism barrier.

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Thursday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Glenn! He’s been out for about a year. So delightful to see him back. I got to drill with him, too.

Drills- from standup, pulling spider guard. Then same, with partner proceeding to pass. Then some positional sparring, starting from establishment of the spider guard. Then postional training starting from sitting on the floor in what Carlos called “double guard pull”. After a while, Carlos switched out partners and gave me a young, long-legged blue belt who huffed and puffed like an overweight basset hound. Since it was also hotter than hell in there tonight, this was not helping him. We talked a lot about breathing. I also gave him several other suggestions as we went. I know that it was because he was breathing wrong, but I still found it rather gratifying- given our respective ages- that I had to repeatedly chivvy him along when he was literally on the brink of collapsing.

A few rolls with Allison. I haven’t seen him in a while either. He’s always great to roll with. He handled me, of course, but I think I made him work a little harder than he has had to work to handle me in the past. I finally had to cry his mercy, though, because I just became too exhausted to continue. He complimented my on my back mount escape. I had escaped his back mount four or five times, usually by grabbing his gi top and squirming around till we were chest to chest (him usually on the bottom at that point). I said, “I thought you were being nice and giving me room to get out,” and he said, “No, I was trying.” Which, given his skill level, I’m going to take as a compliment even if he’s fudging a bit.

At that point I was way too tired to jump on Glenn, so I promised to get him next time.

Omoplatas and collateral damage

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Like a martial artist who has developed an exceptional technique but who doesn’t have the wisdom to know when to use it, Western culture has in its hands the technological potential to turn the planet into a paradise, but has no clue as to how to enjoy it. Rather than being used as a means to enrich our daily lives, the evermore sophisticated technological inventions become a way to take us further away from our bodies and our nature. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

Pink Team at Bellevue, followed by “all levels”.

Pink Team- round robin sparring. I enjoy working with the white belt ladies and coaching them. Today I taught Saeki the upa. I hope I get to see Crisanne get her blue. It should be soon.

All-Levels: Begin on your back with opponent standing behind your head. Invert, cross your leg to opponent’s opposite hip, and turn yourself square. This was fun and easy. I put my hands behind my head and thought I was a rock star. Then Carlos came over to ask me what the H I was doing ending by putting my feet on the floor. End with feet on the hips.

Next: you have spider guard on standing opponent. Opponent steps back with one foot. You maneuver yourself around and square back up. This was easy, but very tiring after a few minutes.

At last: You have spider guard on standing opponent. Opponent steps back with one foot. You move your foot on that same side from bicep to hip. Pull opponent forward. Instead of the obvious triangle, go into omoplata.

The trickiest part of this was bringing the opponent’s arm over one’s own hip and then “stuffing it in your own back pocket”. If you fail to do this adequately, it turns into an awkward and dangerous armlock which seems like it would be great for SD, but unpleasant on your training partner whom you want to be able to train with again tomorrow. As you turn, you are trying to get your crotch socked right into hir armpit- just like in an armbar from guard. Being that close allows you to use your leg to shove on hir shoulder and encourage hir to face-plant. When Lindsey did it to me, I happily face-planted myself just to avoid the armlock. The omoplata seemed both less dangerous and more of an escape possibility from that end. Another matter- that knee. As you face-plant, your opponent’s knee is going right for your mouth. After Lindsey clocked me once, I started putting my hand up to shield my jaw as I bent over. When I did it to her, I opened my leg and placed the outside of that thigh on the mat so I wouldn’t whomp her.

She also kicked me in the head once (not hard). This was definitely a night that I was relieved to not be drilling with a white belt.