Never do that…. oh wait, except for this instance

bjj010105

Awareness, by itself, is not enough to help you avoid a criminal threat. In fact, criminals usually expect their victims to feel afraid, and some criminals feed on that feeling. Really nasty criminals encourage a victim’s fear and even work hard to increase it. A person who feels alarm but is not prepared to act is an ideal victim for such a criminal, because that person fits neatly into the script the criminal expects to play out when he attacks.

Be smart: be prepared *and* aware! -Kathy Jackson

 

 

Thurs eve BJJ in Kirkland.

Side control escapes involving a elbow-to-wrist brace across opponent’s collarbone and a body turn AWAY from hir. I have such trouble with that. This is one of the techniques that the white belts actually pick up FASTER because they don’t have years of “NEVER TURN AWAY FROM THE OPPONENT!!!” to try to break out of.

One of these techniques was designed to take advantage of the moment that the opponent slips hir arm from the near side of your head to the far side in preparation to keylock you. I need to try to remember to experiment with that live.

A little rolling with a few white and early-blue belts. I was able to handle everybody fairly well. I know that Bellevue- which is rife with people better than myself- is the best possible place to learn, but it sure helps the self-confidence to go to Kirkland and just tool up on four or five people in a row to remind yourself that you can actually do some jiu jitsu.

Friday evening women’s class in Bellevue. Roundhouse kick to your hip, you step with the arc, then overwrap the ankle and press the knee out to take down. Step in to brace the leg, then ankle lock.

…..aaaaaaaaaaand more side control escapes, this time the one I have always hated: the one where you snake under the armpit and then roll to your belly, to turtle, to sit-out. I have always struggled with the mechanics of this (although I am very flexible, several bits of this sequence exploit the few ways in which I am *NOT*) as well as the terror or getting 1)smashed back down, probably with my elbow breaking in the process… neck feels distressingly vulnerable as well here….. or 2)getting pinned on my belly…. I do not like being flat on my belly underneath my (usually heavier and stronger) opponent. I was like, “Oh God, *this* shit again…..” but tonight was the first night where I actually felt like I might be starting to grok this one. It helped a lot to have done those bracing side control escapes the night before. Something just clicked after having worked this series of moves in sequence. I’m still not very jazzed about the idea of trying this live, but it makes a little more sense now.

The problem with this women’s class is that I am too tired to do the following class (which I miss), and there is almost never any live rolling (so far). I was feeling very hungry for some live rolling, even though I was pretty tired and not thrilled with the idea of drilling *or* rolling with fresh men. I really wanted to roll with Chrisanne, but she was tired. Still, she was waffling a bit, which made me keep my gi on and sit on the sidelines with her hoping she would get a second wind. The class was all sparring (damn!), and Carlos was not at all pleased with the concept of me and Chrisanne sitting out part of the class and then coming in JUST to roll with each other. He was like, “You’re welcome to come in, but if you do, you are staying on the mat for the whole class.” Finally I gave up on Chrisanne and went back in. Had a couple of good rolls, although I got fairly dominated. Kevin is amazing. I haven’t worked with him in a long time, and it blew my mind at how flexible, technical, and stellar he has become. I remember working with him when he was a white belt, and it is very inspiring to see how far he has come.

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Unicorns

bjj49

 

This is how a book or story has to start. Something rings in my head, like Great Tom. A knell.

Or sounds in my brain like a horn. A call to battle.

Sometimes two characters argue in my mind.

Sometimes it is a character tapping me on the shoulder.

Sometimes it is a vision, a picture in my head.

Only when I hear that ringing, that battle horn, that clear argument, or feel that tapping, or see that vision do I know there is a story I have to tell.

Then I must invoke the magic word. Oh, yes- there is one. All truly successful writers know it.

I shall whisper it in your ear: BIC.

It stands for Butt In Chair.

Really. Hard work is the only real magic there is… if the book in your head is going to get onto the page.

-Jane Yolen

 

 

Friday women’s class: I was too lazy to blog it and now I can’t remember what we did, except I remember doing double-leg setups and upas.

 

Thursday lunchtime class: Pulling guard and using one foot to strip one opponent’s grip, then scissor sweep.

 

Same, only use pendulum sweep.

 

I had some issues here, and at first I was irritated that we were doing both of these in one class because I kept sticking elements of the scissor sweep into the pendulum sweep. I tend to try to turn everything into the scissor sweep; the pendulum sweep feels like one of those “this will never work for me live” things (I think partially because of the emphasis on powering it with a lateral-to-medial shove of the thigh which feels like a very weak movement to me, and also I am always wanting to hip out). It turned out to be annoying-yet-educational because it forced me to focus on the differences.

 

Scissor sweep- I am decent at this; I just need to remember to keep my knee toward the ceiling. I want to put it too low across the opponent’s ribs, and a decent player is going to just flatten it (and me behind it) and squash me. I usually end up trapping the posting arm adequately, but I need to be more mindful and assertive about it.

 

Pendulum: Do not turn on my side. STRAIGHT leg, up to the ceiling, socketed assertively right into opponent’s armpit. Another mindful and assertive post-trapping. CUP the knee (you do not need to try to remove this grip). Also, Carlos adjusted my angle of launch from sideways to upper-diagonal (like the upa). The sweep comes from that thigh shove PLUS the lifting of the opponent’s knee with a flaring of the elbow. That elbow flare was the one thing I didn’t really get enough time to iron out to my satisfaction after ironing out the rest of my problems.

 

Both sweeps could also use a lot more more lower-leg shoving.

 

A little king of the hill, pass vs sweep. I got very excited because I was able to not only hold off John for quite a while, but eventually SWEEP him (gasp!). True he wasn’t going 100%, but he wasn’t babying me around, either. My expanding ego was swiftly returned to earth like a popped balloon by my next opponent, a while belt guy who shoved past my guard in about 4 seconds.

 

Carlos instructed the 4 large male white belts to not even engage the women. While I understand this, I was a little peeved  that it wasn’t “be careful”, it was “don’t go near them at all”. I don’t want to encourage the male white belts to refuse to work with women. There is no reason they can’t learn to be careful. (Carlos added, “Oh- except for Keetsune,” and I was like, “Yeah, bring it,”- but then he said he was kidding. I wasn’t.)

 

Friday women’s class: same techniques. Good. Was able to get my shit together better this time.

 

In addition: Failed double-leg to bear hug and lift; uke hooks foot around attacker’s shin to foil the lift, then bend down and grab opponent’s ankle and lift for takedown. KOB.

 

I am feeling hungry for more sparring; we don’t do any sparring or much KOTH in women’s class. I’m having some stress at work, and could really use the sparring. I stayed after class Thursday and did one spar with Camille, in which I was able to handle her well and mount her repeatedly to troubleshoot her sorry upa.

 

One of the fresh blues said to me in the locker room- in a tone that should be reserved for unicorns, Jesus, and Cindy Hales- “I want to be just like you.”  I don’t know how to react to this. I still don’t. I managed to not laugh.

 

 

 

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.

“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???!!??”

bjj68

 

 

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!)

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.   😦

The training partner you don’t really want

bjj080704

 

Never double down on stupid. Don’t reinforce failure. When you catch yourself doing the wrong thing, don’t let your monkey brain con you into doing the wrong thing harder. Always be humble enough to admit when you’ve screwed it up and change. And adapt. And win.  -Rory Miller

Three classes in three days, Thurs/Fri/Sat.  Good rolls with skilled people before and after class, including Doug and Casey on Friday, and Lindsey on Saturday.

Ghost escape from under side control (hey, I know the name of a technique!)  I Youtubed this very early in my BJJ career and tried it out on my kung fu teacher to see if it would work.

Another escape from side control- in which you block the crossface, grab opponent’s arm, and roll AWAY from hir, pushing hir arm toward your feet as you sit up and turn back in. Fortunately we did this both Friday and Saturday, as I struggled mightily with it on Friday. We are so hardwired to not turn away from the opponent like that. The two keys- have a firm hold on that arm and push it very aggressively toward your feet; and make sure your elbow ends up above the opponent’s arm (otherwise you can get elbow locked, as Carlos demonstrated on me).

Both of these escapes involved technical lifts, so a lot of getting up and down… always a slog for us old folks.

Takedown drills- opponent locks hands behind your neck, you lace hands over hir elbow and drag down. Then abruptly fling your elbow up underneath hir OTHER arm. Take the back (easy for me) or place your head on hir chest, arm behind hir waist, and kick leg out from under as if you’re dipping hir (hard for me). I should have drilled more of the latter, since it was harder (especially remembering where to put the head), but I am really oriented to that backtake.

Peter: “This is going to be The Year Of Back Mount for me.”
Me: (back mounting him) “THE YEAR OF BACK MOUNT!!!!!!!!!”
Peter: “Wait… it’s supposed to be the other way.”
Me: “You did not specify that.”

On Friday, I was anxious because for a while it was looking like I was going to have to drill with Carlos’ girlfriend, who just started training. Normally I like training new people, but sorry…… this is pressure I do not need. I trained with Henrique’s white-belt wife before- but they were fighting at the time, so he ignored us utterly, so that was fine.  😉   I would be really uncomfortable working with Carlos’ girlfriend in a class that he was teaching.

Saturday, I went to put in my contacts and found that one was torn…. so I had to do class blind.  When Rodrigo was matching us up to roll, I couldn’t see that he was calling me out to pair me up with Amy, so I just stood there in the line for way too long. At the break, I apologized and told him that I didn’t have my contacts, so I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The next time he went to pair me up, he waved both arms above his head at me like he was flagging down a train.

At the end of class, he INSISTED that I be in the class picture. I always avoid the pictures, and they all know about that, so they usually leave me alone. Today he was so insistant, I reluctantly caved.

Weight has been dead steady for a week now. Frustrating. At least it’s not going up.

Uphill, then downhill.

bjj7

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.

Squeak!

bjj85

A brewing situation is one that takes time to build, is longer-lasting, and involves many chances for observation before the tactical considerations take over and you must act.

A flash situation is an immediate action taking place with little or no warning and requiring immediate counteraction. Campfire Tales From Hell

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

You have spider guard, standing foe, your feet on hir hips. Place left sole on floor and right sole on foe’s bicep. Pull hir forward just enough to get hir to take a step. (You want hir standing by your hips, with your own sole pointed at the ceiling- don’t try to yank hir over your head). Now let go of the sleeve with your left hand and overwrap hir ankle, Grab your own lapel to secure. Now: number 3 drill from yesterday. I was happy to see this, as I had already asked Chrisanne to review this technique with me tonight. We have done it a lot now. I really like it, but it has an awful lot of steps- which tends to leave me flustered trying to execute it live. When I try to go too fast, I usually end up forgetting to overwrap the ankle. Another recurrent problem: you must remember to let go of the remaining sleeve before you take the person down, lest s/he use it to pull hirself back up on top before you are able to do so. We finished this with either the ankle lock from yesterday, or a technical lift to get on top in side control. In this latter case: GRAB THE PANTLEG BEFORE YOU DO THE TECHNICAL LIFT, and DO NOT LET GO OF THE PANTLEG! You can shove the leg away from you as you get into position…. but Carlos likes to “stuff it in his pocket” and trap the foot on his hip. If you can pull this off, it makes it much more difficult for the enemy to escape.

You are in closed guard. Baseball bat grip on foe’s lapels at hir belly. Place right sole on the floor (remember to use toes) and turn torso in so that your knee frame breaks the guard. overwrap the ankle and put it in your left armpit. Pinch opponent’s leg between your knees and fall to your hip (not on your back). Ankle lock, tucking your matward shoulder back (“hide the shoulder”) for better effect. Don’t forget to use the blade of the arm bone on that ankle lock.

Carlos demo-‘ing the ankle lock on Doug was HILARIOUS. Doug squeaked like a mouse (totally involuntary) and we all fell about laughing, and a little later he did it again.

Two spars with Chrisanne. I made her start in standup, even though we were both tired. She got a tap (bow and arrow)- she was very happy about, as it is a technique that she has struggled to master. I defended it so that she had to make several small adjustments to finish it, and praised her for being able to come up with and execute those plans B, C, D and E effectively. Then I got a tap with a really wierd mutated kimura that was upside down or backward or something… I’m not sure. I was unsure of whether it was working, so I continued to adjust it as an experiment, and she finally tapped.

I sent Lindsay a PM: “I miss choking you and knocking you down.” I wonder what her non-MA FB friends thought of that, especially after she “like”d it.