The head- a vulnerable design flaw

bjj3858

 

Curious friend: “What is guard, what does that mean?”
Me: “It means I can kick your ass while I’m sitting on mine.”   -Ginger Snaps
Thursday evening no-gi in Bellevue.

Carlos still called us “girls” a couple of times, but I think he was making a conscious effort and trying not to.  😉

I stupidly tried to put in my contacts in the car with too little light, and ended up losing one. It felt like it was still folded up in there, but I could not find the damn thing. I had to call Amy (she’s a nurse when she’s not kicking ass in the cage) off the mat to poke around in my eye, but she couldn’t find it either. I had to work blind. I still don’t know what happened to it. Eye is all swollen up…. hope I won’t have to go to the Urgent Care for this. At least I was able to do the class and then drive myself home.

Driving drills- pummelling, shoulder throws, armbars from mount, standing rear naked choke defense to takedown with shoulder lock to KOB. Drilling with Amy, you know you are going to work hard.

The shoulder throw ends with the thrower on both knees… I always want to cheat this because my knees hurt. Really need to get way UNDER opponent, and snug hir armpit right into you hard, then sort of meld into one with hir as you bow to the mat. Then you have to unmeld in time to not go over with hir, but  move to KOB.

Carlos yelled at me for trying to cheerlead a white belt through her last set of armbars. Usually this is a thing he encourages, so I was confused and hurt. Two minutes later, he was sitting in a corner with his shirt pulled over his head. Turns out he had a massive migrane. I’m choosing to believe it was this that caused him to snap at me, and not that he hates me.

Four years ago- or even two years ago- this small event would have sent me into an epic spiral of self-hate and doubt and flagellation….. “Carlos yelled at me… he hates me….I can’t face him again….. I suck….did I really do something wrong? It’s probably because of that exchange we had last week about “girls” vs “women”…. that’s why he hates me…. was I out of line with that? I suck….. Was I rude and inappropriate to that white belt? Did I make her feel uncomfortable? Did I look like an ass in front of the whole class? Everybody hates me….. I hate myself….. I suck….. I can never face any of these people again…..” Yeah, stupid, I know. And yet. Welcome to the world of anxiety disorders.  I don’t know if it’s being on meds, or feeling more comfortable with Carlos after five years, or just maturity- but I didn’t spiral too badly this time. I spiraled some. But not with the usual severity.  And I made a point of facing him on Friday and asking if his head felt better, instead of slinking away because I was sure he hated me.

Friday women’s class: Same shoulder throw we did yesterday; another standing rear naked choke defense ending in a reap instead of the shoulder lock and pulling-to-floor; and the donkey-kick standing guard pass to KOB. I have done this donkey-kick thing enough now to know where my trouble issues are. It really needs to happen in 3 steps, not twenty because I am shuffling my feet around trying to get them in the correct position for the KOB. Getting it down to 3 steps requires beginning with the outside foot planted WAY out, not beside opponent’s body, it requires actually USING the push-and-bounceback of the shin on the opponent’s thigh instead of just going through the motions, and it requires HOPPING that outside foot in and donkeying the other leg back IN THE SAME MOTION. Once I get really focused, I can do it, but the stupid side is very stupid. The hunching over is also tough on my back.

On the last round of reap drill reps, Chrisanne’s breakfall was less than optimal, and she got her chimes rung pretty bad. I felt terrible. I have quit treating her like an egg and usually go about 85% on her, but I may need to backpedal and be a little more gentle. Of course, she tried to get right up and continue, but Carlos and Doug and I told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to just lie there for a minute. They put me with Christy, who is training for Pans, and churning out guard pass reps like a damn machine. I was in awe, and said so. Her throws are also painful. I didn’t take any bad falls like Chrisanne did, but drilling two complete throws in one class to the extent that we did was a bit much. Just a lot of constant brain jarring. My head ached all night and still aches this morning. I had to take an ibuprofen, which I almost never do. I pinged Chrisanne to make sure she was alive, and she is. After she had refused my offer of a ride home,  I had quizzed her on concussion symptoms, and made her promise that if she had any, she would ask her son’s girlfriend to drive her to the Urgent Care. I know this isn’t really my fault (or at least MOSTLY not my fault), but I still feel awful. Chrisanne had a terrible week at work, and I put the cherry on top by almost giving her a concussion. (And not that this is important- weighted beside giving Chrisanne a concussion- but it did cross my mind that this incident is not going to do anything good for Carlos’ apparent view of me as a reckless, dangerous Godzilla on the mat.)

My head ached too much to consider the all-levels class that came after this one- even if I’d had the energy, which I don’t think I did.

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“Don’t tell the ESL guy that!”

BJJ86

 

Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the face.” –Mike Tyson
Friday evening women’s class in Bellevue.  It’s a little awkward to have this new women’s class right before Friday night class, as I love Friday night class and it’s going to be nearly impossible to do both back to back. I just don’t have the stamina/cardio unless I phone one of them in, and I can’t do that because it’s cheating may partner. Unless maybe I have a really really REALLY new white belt for the first class.

Tonight that was NOT happening. We had an odd number of people, and so I drew Professor Doug. So much for phoning it in! I was like, “Okay, shoulder to the boulder now,”  He did a few reps but let me have most of the drilling, and we were moving at a fairly good clip. I was quite exhausted by the end.

Standup- choke from behind. Pull down on forearm and get chin down. step to the side while shoving elbow up. Shuck the elbow over your head and secure opponent’s arm in a figure 4 (snug up really close or s/hell wiggle out). This was difficult for me on the stupid side.
Knee to face, then take down and armbar.

Pull guard from standing, then situp sweep. By the end-of-class drill reps, my abs were howling for mercy and I had to reprimand Doug twice for rolling over for me instead of MAKING me do the technique correctly, even when I was struggling.

Standup, judo grips. Yank foe toward you with the lapel grip and try to reap the leg. Bad guy steps out. Pick the other leg. At first I was anxious about getting kneed in the face while leaning over to pick that second leg, but Doug proved that *if* you get the person off balance enough first, they are too busy trying to stand on that leg to be able to life it up and knee your face.

A little QOTH (Queen Of the Hill), pass guard vs sweep.

Prof. Carlos started out by calling us “women” but then switched to “girls” on Doug’s advice. (sigh)

Me: Don’t tell the ESL guy that!
Doug: (puzzled expression)
Me: Tell him to call us women! Anybody over 12 should be “woman” not “girl”.
Doug: (pointing at the single pubescent girl in the group) What about her?
Me: Since she’s in a group of adult women, just include her in “women”, don’t single her out and make her feel weird.

In the locker room after, one of the white belt WOMEN was talking about how I had instructed her to relax and breathe during the QOTH, and another one exclaimed, “Oh yeah, you told me that same thing two weeks ago!!” Then another one started talking about how she was afraid to spar because she felt like she did not know what she was doing, and the whole roomful looked at me like I knew something, LOL.

I told them that I had gone a really really long time just drilling before trying to spar, because I felt the same way, and it was okay. That they just needed to work with the right people, and I could point out which men were careful and helpful. “NO WHITE BELT MEN.”
Me: (In private message):
Doug was teasing you, Professor! You should call your women’s class “women” and not “girls”!
If it is an informal situation or people you know well, it doesn’t matter as much. If you are talking to me and Chrisanne in the lobby and you call us “girls”, we won’t be mad. But on the mat where we try to be a little more formal, and with new students you don’t know well enough yet to consider them friends, it’s polite to call any female over 12 “women” and not girls. Sometimes calling them girls makes it sound bad, like calling a class of men “little boys”.

“How do I stop you???!!??”

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I write for love, but love doesn’t pay the bills. -Stephen King

Thursday evening BJJ in KIRKLAND. It was nice to see Dave again.

I haven’t been here in a while and it was weird to walk in and have all these white belts (and a couple of  early blues) staring at me.

I know that we learn best when we are getting our tails kicked by better MA’ists, and I am constantly conscious of how very fortunate I am to have so many excellent people to kick my tail for me. It’s a very different experience to have a roomful of whites and baby blues that you’ve never laid eyes on before, and wondering, “Okay, how is this going to go? Are they going to try to prove something on me? Am I going to find myself in WW3 in here tonight? And if I do, can I keep it together?”

Standup: straightarm push to opponent’s right shoulder while snatching left shin (that’s SHIN, not thigh or knee). Lift and dump.

Triangles from guard. I just don’t use these, and while I’m excellent (in drilling) on one side, the other side is just not happening. OF COURSE, OF COURSE OF COURSE Prof Casey (whom I barely know and I doubt knows my name at all) walks over to look JUST AS I try it on the stupid side and make an idiot of myself. WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY????!!!???!!! Now I have made a stellar first impression on him as a purple belt who cannot execute a simple triangle in drill.

Cross chokes from guard, gripping the wad of gi at the back of the shoulder. My favorite.

Spars with a white belt guy and a blue belt girl. Was able to handle them both easily, although Blue made me work- she has lots of energy, flexibility, strength, and is in good shape. She kept beginning by pulling me into her guard, so after two or three of those, I made a point of pulling HER into MY guard instead. She seemed deficient on front mount escapes, so I showed her my favorite no-fail one and then skated around mounting her repeatedly and making her do it till she almost died of exhaustion.  Had one embarrassing moment where I KOB’ed her and she rolled the “wrong” way to escape. I was so surprised, and my balance was a little off, so she got me fair and square. It was a good reminder. Gracie Barra tends to be pretty formulatic, and I have really gotten used to “If I do A, he’s going to do B.” The only exceptions to that are the white and black belts, and I rarely work with white belts. When I do A and they do P instead, I need to not get caught flat footed. This is important as a defense-oriented MA’ist. I have to remember that if I get into a defensive situation, it is likely that the other guy will NOT be a trained grappler, and when I do A, I need to be ready for him to do P and R and UDK and aardvark and 74 instead of B.

Me: (setting up a keylock) “Don’t let me do THIS again,”
Blue: (wailing) “HOW DO I STOP YOU??!?”

The white belt was newer. On him, I did my standard “This is KOB. I get points for this, so as soon as I do it to you, you need to turn toward me and shrimp out before I count to 3.” And then skated around KOB’ing him repeatedly and making him do it till he almost died of exhaustion.

Both of them thanked me sincerely after, and said that they had learned a lot. I love that.

Besides making a point of teaching/drilling one thing (him, KOB escape; her, front mount escape) hard- which I make a point of telling them that I want them to retain and do to me next time- I feel that it’s educational for the lower belts for me to tire them out to the point that they are reeling when we are done, and I’m not breathing hard. Of course probably THE most important thing they need to learn is “relax and breathe”, and this is a good demo of what they are shooting for.

This did, however, leave me mulling a dilemma as I left. Is it helpful or not- on a purely selfish level- to make a point of going to Kirkland regularly so that I can work with lower-ranked people for a change?

Of course you learn things by teaching. And it’s a thrill to have your techniques actually WORK for a change instead of getting shut down every time even if you’re doing it right, just because the other person is six skill levels above you. But I wonder if my behemoth challenges- confidence and self esteem- would be boosted by doing this regularly, or would it be just a sop to my ego? I would love to find things that would genuinely boost my confidence and self-esteem, but I do not have time and energy to watse on band-aid ego sops.

I wonder if it would be helpful to come here to work on my weak bottom and sweep game with the white belts.

Maybe I should have been offended instead of relieved?

 bjj01020110

 

My crystal ball has never been very good. I’ve noticed that bad things generally happen to me when I’m not expecting it rather than when I am expecting it. For example, I’ve never been in a _planned_ car accident. I’ve never had a flat tire I was expecting to get. And the day my middle son was struck by lightning, we sure weren’t expecting that to happen!
 That’s why my default setting is to carry the gun, even at times and in places where I “feel safe.”
-Kathy Jackson, Cornered Cat

Thursday no-gi and Friday evening gi in Bellevue.

More double-leg setups from standing.

Double-leg attempt to be met with sprawl.

Opponent bearhugs you from behind. You drop down to clear the forearms, lift them in front of your chest, turn body to the side, and step one foot behind opponent’s foot. Takedown. If they defend, we lifted them off the ground and sort of contact-improv’ed them across our lower backs to drop them on the other side. I’ve never done anything like that in BJJ. It was unexpected to be picked up like that. It’s something I don’t usually think to do to an opponent (in BJJ). Judging by everyone else’s response to the concept, it might be worth experimenting with live. Particularly as I have lately had the recurring thought that I ought to be working harder to formulate my nonexistant bottom game and should stop always leaping for the top.

Opponent is turtled. You do a “sash grip” over one shoulder and under the other. Switch legs and stick your far knee under hir belly, pull hir into back mount. At this point it was essential to be sure you had a grip with your fingertips digging into the palm of your opposite cupped hand. I do not like this grip and had to readjust it every rep. It was also essential that the arm OVER opponent’s shoulder had the palm toward the ceiling (another thing I had to pause and check, and usually adjust). After getting your back mount points, move into S mount. Scoot the front leg way up on hir chest and sit down, bringing other leg around and over hir floorward shoulder. Now, if you dig your forearm bone into the side of hir neck (this is why the palm of this arm had to be facing up) and pinch your knees together, it was a nasty choke. Usable in no-gi. If you do it wrong it becomes a crank, so be careful. I like S mount, and I found that my usual positioning needed a very conscious adjust to move that front leg from belly to chest. If it wasn’t far up enough on the chest, the move did not work. If everything was positioned correctly, we didn’t even have to lean back or knee-squeeze, it already hurt bad enough to tap.

Spider guard sweeps- pull opponent’s arm across your chest before sweeping. Neglecting to control the arm and neglecting to be aggressive enough about breaking down the opponent’s posture are two persistant problems with my sweep game. I got WAAAAAAAAAAAY under my partner and manhandled her balance around.

Same entry, only instead of sweeping, place foot on opponent’s shoulder blade and use a turned-in knee to elbow-lock. This was beautifully nasty- I love it. It is very Cindy-esque. Ha ha. I can’t wait to try this on someone live. Preferrably Chrisanne, who missed this class. (Insert evil chuckle)

King of the hill- back mount vs escaping back mount. I am fairly good at escaping back mount, but I am hopeless as a backpack- and since that’s where I was for this entire cycle, things did not go very well for me.

Carlos cautioned me TWICE this week for what he saw as me doing a technique too fast/rough- in both cases, I had my usual perfect exquisite control and there was absolutely no danger. This frustrates and offends me. I accidentally made Kelly yelp *ONCE* about three years ago (on a technique that I had done to numerous kung fu classmates about 3x as hard and they didn’t react), and I think that one unfortunate occurance has really stuck in Carlos’s mind and he has me irrevocably pegged as someone dangerously careless. I’m about the most careful and controlled MA’ist on the WHOLE PLANET, so it winds me up when he does this. (Maybe THAT is why he didn’t put me with his girlfriend! He put her with a WHITE BELT! Hmmm, maybe I should be offended!)

Preserving your identity

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  Fighting, counter-assault, hand-to-hand– whatever you want to call it– is very much a thing of guts and nerve, visceral, not intellectual. And yet, you have a brain. Use it.   -Rory Miller
Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Did something to my left shin and it’s been bugging me all week. I was able to do most stuff yesterday and today, but I did pass on the sparring portion of tonight (with the exception of a roll with Doug).

Standup, no-gi-type grips (meathook behind neck, outside tie). Pummel back and forth a few times like this, then duck under and take the back.

Same, then the backtaken person does this escape: on the same side that opponent has your wrist trapped, take one step forward and then turn sharply back, using the free forearm to break down opponent’s arm. Single leg from here.  I had some trouble here because as always, I struggle with left/right and could not remember which foot to step forward with.

Same standing guard passes that we did last week- underhooking the thigh and passing around the back, then around the front.
Have been thinking a lot about yesterday’s quote, the part about hanging onto the past because it’s preserving your identity.  There’s also the good one about  how dwelling on past bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.

I carry around a lot of baggage and bitterness, to my detriment. I have a very visceral repulsion toward the concept of forgiveness in these cases. To me, forgiving says, “It was okay that you did that”.  Fuck no. It was not. It never will be okay.

And yes, I am intellectually aware that forgiveness is about healing the forgiver and not about letting the forgivee off, and all that… but emotionally it just doesn’t wash. There are people who have done things to me that I will never forgive.

I am aware that they are not lying awake at night. More than one of them failed to ever understand what they did wrong or that they even did anything wrong at all. It costs them nothing that I hold a grudge, it just costs me (ironically, this serves to make me even more bitter).

If you’re still bleeding years later, it proves that you were “right”, right? That the other person is unspeakably evil? That you deserve sympathy, admiration, help, slack? We already established that the perpetrators don’t give a shit that they hurt you; they are going on about their merry lives while you lie in the ditch and moan. If you let go of it, then NOBODY is carrying it, right? Somebody has to be left holding the bag. WTH, does it just evaporate? Does that prove that it didn’t matter, that it didn’t really hurt that much, it wasn’t so bad, that “it was okay that you did that”?

I’ve been stuck and frustrated about resolving this emotional baggage, because I just can’t put a spin on “forgiveness” that will make it palatable to my logic-rejecting inner child, and I couldn’t find a way to reframe the problem.

So, “preserving your identity”……..

We are brainwashed from toddlerhood in this society to admire/idealize heroes and Disney Princesses who were orphaned, abused, and otherwise got shat on and went on to rise above. It’s a glamorous identity to have been fucked over and then rise above. Movies don’t get made about people who were raised by loving parents in plenty and comfort, married their high school boyfriend/girlfriend, had a fun and enlightening education, got a great career, and had a successful happy life. If you cut out the part of Malala’s story where she had to struggle to get an education and then nearly got murdered for it, and only show the wonderful work she is doing now, it’s not quite the same. The hardships and struggles are part of the hero’s journey, the hero’s identity.

At what point does the tragic backstory become baggage? At some point do you get to choose whether that tragic past gooses you to get better or just drags you down? At some point do you get to choose when to just cut those chapters out of your book and begin at the better parts? It seems like there is an inevitable degeneration into using the tragic backstory as a crutch. “You can’t expect me to accomplish X, after what happened to me,”…. “You should marvel that I am able to do Y, after what I had to overcome”….. yes, it is a BIG part of one’s identity. Big enough that the prospect of excision is quite daunting.

No pressure

bjj93

The problems of today cannot be resolved by dwelling on the past. If you are doing that, the past isn’t the problem, it’s you. As much as the past may serve to preserve your identity, you hanging on to it isn’t helping.

First it ignores your actions now. Second it keeps you from objectively viewing the situation — including your part in it. Third, when you approach others with the attitude of blame and condemnation, you give them no reason to work with you. Fourth, by playing the victim, you give them no reason to trust you.

 The last is more important than you think. Because without trust, there is no possibility of resolution or change.
  -Marc MacYoung
————-

A friend of mine recently got promoted to brown (congratulations again!). I realized that I haven’t even thought about belts in a really long time. It’s been great. I haven’t gotten a promotion in forever, and it’s been great. I’d still like to backtrack to, oh, one- or two- stripe blue if I had the choice.  But at least as long as I’m just parked here, I don’t feel like I’m in the backseat of a driverless racecar careening down the highway. It’s been great. I hope I never get promoted again.
Thursday lunchtime gi in Bellevue. I feel particularly tired this week for some reason. I felt exhausted waiting for class to start.

Standup: judo grips, stick right foot behind opponent’s left foot. (Note, keep toe on the mat and not hooking the shin like I wanted to do. Also, Carlos corrected me on my positioning- I was ending up with my feet a long ways away from the opponent; I need to step in closer and pay attention to not sliding/dancing outward while executing this.)  Opponent steps out. You drop to your knee and pick up hir OTHER heel. Takedown. (Must also pay attention to where you try to put that foot when I pick it up- if I just fling it upward because I’m hyperfocused on the fall, I end up yanking it between my own legs and tangling us up.) Note that although an exaggerated upward elbow-fling before the knee-drop is discouraged, clearing that arm is important- and you also want to try to get the person off balance. Also note that there is a danger of getting caught in half guard after you dump hir and as you move to side control.

I am still working on my grips/hand positioning while doing things like this. I like the firm behind-the-heel grab, but for some reason in the heat of the moment I always seize the pants cuff further up. I think I’m subconsciously anxious about getting kicked in the face. But that higher grip makes it much harder/more unlikely to get the takedown, *MORE* likely to get kicked in the face because the opponent has more mobility and room to use leg strength, and also my ideal is to be less dependant on clothing grips so that my techniques will work in both gi and no-gi. My excellent aim should make it easier for me than for most people to whip in there and snag that heel. I should use my best weapons to their fullest extent.

Standing guard pass using underhook. One thing Carlos touched on that got my attention- because it is a persistant sloppy habit of mine- is where to put your arms as you are passing, so that they are less attackable. In this case, he put his arm across the opponent’s belly with the hand on the opposite hip. People at GB (black belts excepted) do not attack my arms consistantly enough while I am passing to keep me honest. If I rolled more with Cindy- who NEVER misses the smallest opening for an arm attack while I am trying to pass- I might be able to break this habit.

Same guard pass, only opponent thwarts your pass to the side by hanging that leg heavy on your uderhooking shoulder. Counter this by going around the opposite side. (I was actually a little bummed to have Chrisanne drilling this, as it is a pass defense I use a LOT, and now she has a good counter and is going to be jamming me, LOL….)

King Of the Hill, starting from any guard, pass vs sweep. I was not doing too great here today. I fought one white belt guy for a long time as he tried to “sweep” me with muscle, and finally had to give it to him….. sigh. Slightly frustrating. But this is one of the things that honestly bothers me a lot less when I’m not worrying about belts. I feel less like shit when I get manhandled by a white belt. Not that getting manhandled by white belts is a good thing…. but the self-loathing mental/emotional spirals are a lot more problematic than the butt-kicking.

Still parked at about 10lb over my normal walking-around weight. I *really* want to jettison at least those 10lb before my June trip. Starting to think that a series of short fasts might be the only way to budge it. Just kick a pound or two each time, then try to maintain for a bit.

Still raining consistantly, so little dog-walking/hiking.   😦

Uphill, then downhill.

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The stakes aren’t just pride and emotion. They can get real serious, real quick- even if you thought you were playing for such penny-ante shit as your pride. –Campfire Tales From Hell

I am missing some classes because my insomnia rages unchecked. There are many times when I just do not feel safe to get behind the wheel. The doc has informed me that I may work my way up to four of these prescription sleeping pills (and presumably not die). I took two yesterday (I skipped the one-and-a-half step) and it did nada.

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup, judo grips: Turn almost side-by-side with opponent and stick your near leg between hir feet really far back. When s/he shifts balance to the other foot to try to move away or seek a steadier stance, quickly yank your foot out and trip hir OTHER foot. Speed, correct timing, and getting the person offbalance are key…. as well as being a convincing actor and making the foe think that you really are fixated on that near leg.

Standup, you put an arm up to guard and the opponent grabs your wrist/forearm. Extricate arm (keeping opponent’s arm) and scoot almost side-by-side again- only this time you grab the belt. Don’t go to the back. This was just a setup, but it was almost irresistible to do a straight armbar from here. Unfortunately, the straight armbar involves stepping back, and carlos wanted us to step forward.

Triangles from open guard, baiting opponent to yank hir sleeve cuff away from you so that s/he pulls one arm back.

One spar with Christy. I am always expecting her to smash me; she’s technical, very strong, has MUCH better cardio, and some weight on me. I haven’t rolled with her much in a while, but the last few times I have, I was able to control her. I even got a sub today (head and arm choke). I also had several pointers for her in regards to her upcoming competition.

One spar with a four stripe white belt girl. I was able to handle her pretty easily.

These two elderly dogs are still walking/hiking me into the ground, and it’s embarrassing. The upside is that we are getting lots of exercise. Nor do they like to allow me to stroll along. Unless I work really hard- with constant attention- to rein them in, we are power-walking the entire time (regardless of terrain). One problem I’m running into is that many of the trails here go UP a mountain and then back DOWN. Coming down is a bitch on my bad knees, even when I’m not being yanked along by an impatient dog who never gets tired. If I have to walk downhill, I’d much rather do it FIRST, when I’m fresh.

Day one of one-a-day

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What you do instead of your work is your REAL work. –Roger Ebert

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup: opponent has both hands laced behind your neck. You lace your hands over hir elbow, chicken-wing your arm out and step to that side. This twists hir spine uncomfortably and makes it easier for you to move your hands inside and grab behind hir neck instead.

Next, we went from the chicken–wing-and-sidestep to a double-leg. Note that you must plaster yourself right against the opponent and slide down hir body, otherwise you will not be close enough. Hug just above the knees.

Opponent is turtled in front of you. Sprawl, crossface, sash grip around chest, switch far knee in, pull opponent into your back mount. Three notes: 1)don’t forget to grab the wrist at the end. 2)You must make sure your shin is pressing against opponent before you start to pull hir over, and kick that baby under *as* you are pulling. If you wait till after you have hir capsized, it’s too late to shove that foot under. 3)Try to dive in a diagonal direction over the shoulder instead of pulling opponent sideways. I continue to find myself subconsciously resistant to this, as I keep feeling like I am just going to slither my tiny self over hir shoulder to plop onto the mat while s/he continues to turtle there like a rock. This doesn’t make logical sense, because if THAT is how it is, I am not going to be able to haul this person sideways either. I have nothing to lose and a slightly better chance of succeeding if I go on the diagonal. I found it slightly more palatable if I made a point of shoving the shoulder aggressively to the mat as I went.

King Of The Hill, sweep versus pass (any guard, choice of the “king”). I didn’t do all that great, but I was overmatched by everyone (they all outranked me except for one big muscley white belt).

I’m doing it. I am going- not quite cold turkey, but- one pop per day (first thing in the morning). This is day one. I am jonesing badly, but it helps that I have no Dr Pepper left in the house (just A&W root beer, which is great, but not quite as bad of a trigger). I also took the A&W out of the fridge- it is not so tempting when it is warm, and I have no ice.

I want to do this experiment to try to figure out if it will help my crappy sleep any. Also, I am wondering if the sugar-induced glucose roller coaster is contributing to the fact that I feel exhausted all the time. This latter question involves ALSO cutting down on solid junk food. That’s going to be extra-challenging. Usually when I’m trying to reduce my pop, I console myself with extra junk food, and vice versa. I don’t like being at this weight. I don’t like being exhausted all the time. I don’t like not being able to get to sleep, and I don’t like waking up every couple of hours when I *do* manage to get to sleep. I don’t like getting up feeling even more exhausted than when I went to bed. I don’t like the idea of going to the doc and getting on some drug to try to get some sleep.

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.

There are no anonymous mouthguards.

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Will you spend your time and pursue your training in a doomed attempt to not die? Or will you train to live harder and truer? –Campfire Tales From Hell

Thurs no-gi in Bellevue:

There was a massive, delicious-smelling buffet in the lobby when I walked in. I walked right by. Carlos told me that there was food (like I could have missed it). I said, “I didn’t come here to eat.” I thought he’d like that, but he informed me that I was being rude. Again with the awkwardness and frustration of trying to make better diet decisions in a world that constantly wants to shove food in your face. And again with the cultural minefields. Five years with this guy and I still can’t always figure out what’s going to offend him.

Pummelling.

Pummelling to backtake.

You have butterfly guard. Hug opponent around torso, lie back- load and lift.

Same, only now opponent whizzers you on one side. Grab hir wrist and hold it there while you remove your arm. Press hir wrist to hir own belly as you use your free arm to hug hir around the torso, lie back, and load-lift.

Same, only now as you lie back, yank hir arm hard across your bodies and kick with your opposite foot to spin the opponent and drop hir into your back mount. Hooks. Choke. Note- don’t forget to grab hir wrist in the backmount. This is a detail that I persistently forget across multiple techniques.

You standing, opponent sitting. Rocking-chair hir back. S/he sits up and wraps hir left arm around your right thigh. Dive your right hand UNDER hir arm. Place the blade of your left forearm on the back on hir neck. Gable grip. Sprawl. (ow… this made me want to tap right then… neck crank and spine bend…. and I was scared of what would come next) Rotate your arm circle so that your left bicep is facing the mat. Kick right leg through and drop to the mat. Head and arm choke. If you can’t get it, inch your body toward opponent so that your chest/belly cranks it worse (ow). I’m so happy I was doing this with Chrisanne. If it had been some big dumb whitebelt, I think I would have faked a stomachache and bailed. It was scary enough with Chrisanne.

Two phenomenal rolls with Chrisanne and one phenomemal roll with Danny.

Walked past the buffet a second time.

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Fri gi in Bellevue.

Same agenda, minus the head-and-arm, and plus this:

After the pummelling and backtake, your attacker lifts your feet off the floor in a bearhug. You need to achieve a slight shift to the side before s/he lifts you. Then you can hook a shin around hir chin from the outside as you are lifted, preventing hir from lifting you any higher or from throwing you. As s/he drops your feet to the floor, you bend your knees, reach between them, and grab hir foot. Yank. As soon as you have hir on hir back, kneebar. Then drop the leg, lift the foot that is between hir legs, and pivot to move to KOB. You can add a face/throat strike here (this is self defence), or- if you are working with Chrisanne- you can beep her nose.

Many drill reps, as Carlos is wont to due on Friday nights. Chrisanne and I had aching legs from the night before. I started out the butterfly boosts really strong (it was fun and felt good) but I slowed down considerably as time went on. Chrisanne gained eight pounds with each set. It was partially that I was already sore from the previous night’s reps, and partially that I was glucose-deficient (I had eaten lunch, but run errands before class, and should have bought a sandwich or something before going in), but mostly it was the fact that I am old.

I got a compliment from Carlos on my butterfly sweep to backtake- he liked my snappy foot kick as I twirled my enemy into my back mount. Chrisanne and I were both struggling a bit with the the fact that we were tired enough by then to make the technique quite physically challenging to complete even if we felt like we knew/understood the steps.

Positional training from butterfly guard. I suck from butterfly guard. Chrisanne is better at this than I am. She swept me two or three times, and I got squat.

I was too hungry to stay for sparring. It was punishingly hot and muggy, too.

Carlos (pointing at a random mouthguard lying on the floor): “Rodney! Your mouthguard!”

Me (wonderingly): “You can identify everybody’s mouthguards on sight?”

Yes. He can.