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.

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The training partner you don’t really want

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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.

Blocking with your face

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“A small daily task, if it really be daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.” -Anthony Trollope

Friday BJJ in Bellevue: A second helping on Brazilian Buffet. I did well at staying on top of people tonight, but still lack in the subbing stage.
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Thurs BJJ in Bellevue: Dreels. Pummelling, Double-leg takedowns, then gradually adding side control, KOB, then a weird armbar that I can’t even begin to describe.
It was nice to be dreelling with Amy, who is always ready to put in a serous effort. Also, she is now advanced enough to be really good for dissecting things and experimenting. In fact, we experimented so much that we got in trouble with the prof.
One long roll with Justin. We rolled until Carlos kicked us out of the gym.
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Missed Friday class because I picked up an extra work shift, but I did get a walk- as I always do when I work day shift, because I am too cheap to pay a parking fee at the hospital garage.
I’m down seven pounds (there was a week-long plateau in there…).  I was doing one can of pop per day at first but now I’m back up to 2 or 3. That’s still an improvement over my usual, although I continue to see little if any change in my weight, energy level or anything else by cutting down pop. I have been working hard at one of my biggest hurdles- snacking at work. Also, having mouse-sized meal portions pre-portioned is a good tactic- It prevents me from going into the kitchen raving hungry and sticking a giant portion in the microwave. If I’m still hungry after my single mouse-portion, I try to wait a while before having another.
I’m hungry a lot. I always complain about trying to control my weight, but it’s ten times harder when you’re on a medication that is actively working against you and trying its damndest to turn you into a blimp.
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Thursday BJJ. I had to do evening no-gi because my dog needed to see the vet in the afternoon. Can’t remember the last time I did no-gi.

Double-leg takedown drills, to side control, to front mount. Let them bridge, then take the back and choke.

Double-leg to side control, opponent defends the mount by putting foot on knee. You turn and sit on your hip facing hir feet. Overhook hir thigh and pull it UP  (scoot your butt back first, or it won’t work) and then down to the mat. (Opponent’s back is now twisted painfully.) Place the sole of your foot on the mat between hir knees and scoot your other knee up to hir belly. Take the elbow closest to hir feet and place it on the mat on the far side of hir hip. Summersault over your shoulder so that your head is at hir feet. As you go over, make sure your knee is hooked securely behind hir knee- grab the ankle with your hand and stuff it further in there just to be sure. This will flip and twist the person right into your back mount. It’s complicated, but lord is it ever smooth once you get all  the steps right…. and from having had it done to me, it’s one of those “WTH just happened??!??” moments.

Positional training starting from several points of this technique. While takedown sparring, I went for an aggressive underhook on Chrisanne and she blocked with her face. As a general rule- blocking with your face is never a good plan. Luckily I did not break her nose, but I felt awful.

I have lost half of my medication-induced extra weight. It is coming off very reluctantly. Hungry ALL THE TIME.   😦

Thursday: break-in. Friday: pit bull attack. How was your week?

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Many people receive the answer to their prayers, but ignore them- or deny them, because the answers didn’t come in the expected form. –Sophy Burnham

Thursday lunchtime gi in Bellevue. We got Rodrigo today! Carlos and Doug both had surgery at the beginning of the week, so they will be on the bench a while.

Opponent in turtle, you sprawled on hir left hip. Grab hir left sleeve cuff and right lapel. Move to the side and pull hir onto her side, switching to a “sash” grip. Stay heavy and keep public bone to the mat. As s/he places hir top foot on the mat to try to recover turtle, you stick your bottom leg into the space that s/he has just made between the mat and hir hip, and wrap hir bottom leg. Pull hir back into you, and place the second hook. Do not forget to trap the arm. (Note: do not- as I wanted to do- try to jump/climb on top of hir to get the back mount. PULL hir into you.)

Same entry, only now as you pull the foe onto hir side, you use your lapel grip to open the lapel and slide your other hand in. I always want to snug everything REALLY REALLY TIGHT, and Rodrigo instructed me to loosen up and slide down a bit on this lapel grip- because you want the person to try to recover turtle instead of realizing that they’re about to get choked. As they go into turtle, you clock choke. Do not straighten your arm and pull at this. Keep the elbow bent and lean your chest over the opponent’s head. Rodrigo puts his forehead on the mat.

My stupid side, which I only tried a few times at the very end and only because we had done about a bajillion reps, was much tighter because that side had me doing the clock choke with my dominant arm.

A little positional training from the point where you pull the opponent onto hir side and try to keep hir down, while opponent gives some (but not crazy) resistance.
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So some crazy and/or drugged homeless guy broke into my garage this morning. It scared the poop out of me, but I was very happy that I had a gun, so that I knew I could defend myself if he tried to get into the house. I was even happier to see the sheriff pull in. I could have set off the audible alarm and probably scared him off, but I wanted the cops to get him, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about him coming back (for a little while, at least). He broke a window in my rear garage door, but luckily did not damage my car. The nice deputies caught him red-handed in there, carted him off in cuffs, and booked him for Burglary in the second degree.

I think the only thing I could have done better was to be more proactive about checking out odd noises. I heard some thumping, but assumed it was the cat messing around upstairs. It was only when the thumping continued that I went up to check, and found her asleep. I figured then that I had a bear in my garbage can. But when I looked out the window, I saw an unfamilar dude lurching up my driveway while holding an animated conversation with himself. Next time I will check out weird noises more promptly. If he had gone to the front door instead of the garage after rifling the garbage, things could have turned out much worse than they did.
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So, the day after some crazy homeless guy broke into my garage, my dogs and I got attacked by a loose pit bull. It tore up Teal pretty badly. I was well weaponed up, yet could not adequately defend.

Because I am so paranoid, my head is always on a swivel and thus I glanced behind me and saw the pit come out of the driveway. As soon as I laid eyes on that dog, I knew we were going to get attacked. I yelled “NO!” powerfully, as that has been recommended by some dog-savvy friends. I was then able to get off a couple yells for help and get my pepper spray out of my pocket before it was on us.

The dog attacked Teal, and I emptied half the can of pepper spray right into its eyes to no effect at all. I could not shoot it because we were in the middle of a populated subdivision. My knives would have been a poor weapon- this dog was not responding to pain compliance techniques, and I would have had to get under its throat and get a few really good deep slashes to put it out of commission. At that point, my bag of tricks was empty.

All I could do was yell for help. I tried to pull the pit off my dog, but it just kept hold and I was dragging both dogs. I really needed a second person- one to grab each dog and pull them apart. But although ten or twelve people came out to see what all the screaming was about, no one helped. 😦 Now I know what Kitty Genovese felt like.

Eventually the dog owner’s dad came out, and stood there to stare for a moment before wading in. He grabbed the pit’s harness and gave it a couple of ineffectual tugs, then he started whipping the dog over the back with a little nylon strap. Of course that didn’t do jack. Finally I gathered my wits enough to yell at him, “grab the harness and pull him off! Grab the harness and pull him off!” Which he finally did. As I fled for our lives, the guy was lying in the middle of the street bear-hugging the dog.

So, several lessons learned.

1)Don’t expect help. Even if there are lot of people around. They will just stare, or maybe take out their iphones to video your attack. You are on your own.

2)Please don’t be that person. If someone is yelling for help, fucking HELP.

3)I thought I was well weaponed-up, but two of my weapons were inappropriate for the situation and the third one failed me. I have thought a lot about what would have helped in that situation, and I decided that a hammer would have gotten the job done. I went to Lowe’s and bought a really nice heavy mallet with a comfy grip and good balance. I am now carrying that whenever I walk the dogs. The next loose dog that puts its teeth in my dog is going to get its fucking skull bashed in.

4)It was astonishing to what extent my brain switched off in the presence of that much adrenaline. I had to leave the scene, because Teal needed to go to the ER, and that guy still did not have his dog under control, so we fled. Later I had a hard time finding the attack site, I wouldn’t have been able to pick that guy out of a lineup, and I was even unsure what color the dog was- which is funny seeing as how I was wrestling with it for three minutes. Your brain really shuts down all the extraneous details. Next time, remind self to stop and take note of details, especially if you have to flee the scene.

5)Even if you have decided that your pepper spray is useless, don’t put the can back into your pocket. Just the small amount of dried liquid left on the outside of the can ate right through my pants and gave me a miserable chemical burn. My entire thigh looks like it’s been roasted over a slow fire. (Again- how did that monster dog just ignore this? I knew it wasn’t going to respond to pain compliance techniques, but I was hoping that the pepper spray directly into the eyes would blind it and make it difficult to breathe. Nope.)

6)January is tactically useless. All he did was run circles around us in scared confusion. I always hoped my dog(s) would try to do something if I was screaming for help, but it did not trigger him. Note: do not expect his help in the instance of a break-in.

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I went to BJJ class on Friday night, but I had too much going on to blog it, and now I can’t remember what we did. I also missed ALL classes the following week.

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Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. I got to drill with Nelson, which is always wonderful.

Triangles from guard.

From guard: fake a scissor sweep, then hook your toe under the thigh instead. Sweep hir AWAY from you. Note that you have to be really close to make this work- if you shrimped out too much getting set up for the scissor, it’s really hard to lift the guy using just leg strength.

Same basic thing from standup.

My favorite choke: the one where you get a deep cross grip and then grab a handful of gi at the back of the shoulder to finish. We turned our bodies to use the thigh to force the opponent’s head down as if we were going to armbar, then swung back to finish the choke straight on. Weirdly, it’s a chicken-wing pulling motion- yes, the very thing we are always told NOT to do. But it was beautiful. I found, while being the uke, that when the opponent swings that leg up, it makes you think he’s going for a triangle or armbar, so you want to yank back- which will just make you choke yourself even harder.

Three spars with three white belt ladies. They are all game and trying hard. Gave them all some (I hope useful) pointers.

Down five

bjj999BJJ

No man, however civilized, can listen for very long to African drumming, or Indian chanting, or Welsh hymn singing, and retain intact his critical and self-conscious personality. –Aldous Huxley

I’ve lost 5lb from walking my dogs. I think the meds are also affecting my appetite (in a good way). I was worried about the typical weight gain that goes along with anxiety/depression drugs. Yet I didn’t really want lunch yesterday, and had to make myself eat it (because I was going to class and knew I needed the fuel), and I didn’t really want dinner either, but made myself eat it (because I knew I just had not eaten enough that day). I am snacking less at home, as it is disconcerting to have two dogs staring at me. I have been binging on a lot of junk food at work, partially because my insomnia is just making it really hard to get through the day. If I can get this insomnia solved, I think that will be less of a problem. Unfortunately, the insomnia rages unchecked in the face of prescription drugs.

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. Standing guard pass to KOB. When opponent pushes at your knee, turn to hir feet and take a modified side control, propped on your elbow. Pick up hir top pants cuff and place hir shin between your shins. Grab hir other pants cuff and the belt or back waistband. Dive over and pull the person into your back mount. This was similar to what we did last week, so I was able to translate (and even figure out- and explain adequately- to Peter why his technique wasn’t working). It’s all about getting that knee hooked nice and snug with the opponent’s knee. If it’s too low, or too lose, you don’t have adequate control of the opponent’s body.

Several rounds of sparring, the first round with Cindy, whom I have not worked with in forever. So that was great (albeit exhausting!)

Brain Surgery

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There’s a difference between inflicting lethal damage and stopping power. Someone can be fatally wounded and still functional enough to take you with them. Mostly it depends on how dedicated they are to taking you out. Pain alone won’t stop someone hellbent on killing you. –Campfire Tales From Hell

Missed a day of hiking due to rain (still did the multiple mini-walks). Otherwise, still hiking/walking every morning.

I am on drugs! I have an antianxiety med and a sleeping pill. I insisted that the doc not give me anything potentially addictive, and no refills on the sleeping pills (if I want a refill, I will go back to the clinic and we will have a discussion about my level of reliance). It’s only day 2, and I’m still on half-dosages of each. The only thing that has happened so far (aside from a mild headache) is that while dozing about 12 hours after taking the first half-tab of the antianxiety med, I had a bizarre mental picture of a bunch of bats and rats and pigs with sharp edges, flickering like newspaper on fire. Since I do not do substances (well, until now… sigh), I have never before had the experience of finding a thought in my brain that was obviously a foreign insertion. It was very odd.

Thursday evening no-gi in Bellevue.

Various basic drills… with RUNNING LAPS between each. We even had to watch the demo of each drill WHILE we were running.

Short spars with rotating partners, no subs allowed. Lots of them- like 12 or 14. Fortunately the room was jam packed with purple and brown belts. There was one lonely white belt in the room (he looked up the line and stage-whispered, “Hey- is this an advanced-only class???”).
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Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Rodrigo was there to teach tonight!

Great warmup roll with Casey. He let me slap on a number of subs, and get within a hair of finishing them, and then slithered out with ease.

Double leg setups shifting to single-leg. Scoop your arm (the one in front of the opponent) under hir thigh so that you are almost grabbing hir ass, and step backward while you pull hir to the floor. Place your hand on hir hip, “Slide into home” over hir thigh, side control.

Stand up in closed guard (don’t forget to grab the sleeve cuff first!). As opponent opens guard and slides to floor, frame up your elbows on your knees and wedge yourself between hir knees. Press one knee to the mat and slide the *FAR* knee through, placing it in hir armpit (it is important to get this high). Make sure to keep your toe down until you backsit to move to side control. This move- which is not exactly brain surgery, and I use it all the time- was AWFUL on the Stupid Side for some reason. As usual, the first time I tried it on the stupid side, that’s when the prof chooses to come by. He of course questioned why I can’t do this very simple thing, and I said, “It’s the Stupid Side,” whereupon he instructed, “Do the Stupid Side again.” (Argh!)

This last technique actually *WAS* brain surgery……

Same entry, only when you press the knee to the floor, instead of hugging the head to pass, you take the arm closest to opponent’s head and wrap it over hir thigh. This presents your shoulder the the mat near hir ribs (your back patch in hir face). Roll, and as you go over, catch hir leg and hook your knees together. If you do this right, as you roll upright again, you force hir into a roll. As s/he rolls, maneuver hir into your back mount. (You must hip escape a bit to make this work). Get hooks. Choke.

I have never done this before (although it has been done to me many times), and it hurt my brain- but Rodrigo demo’ed it about a billion times, so I was surprised when I succeeded. Even more surprised when my white belt partner marveled “You make it seem so smooth!” Still, this is way too complex for attempting live at this point. It normally takes three times of a given technique coming around in the teaching rotation before it really starts to gel for me.

Lots of reps of all of these.

Found out that said white belt partner has NEVER sparred, so it was a good excuse to stay for one roll. She was assertive and heavy on top, but I was able to handle her, and give her some pointers that she seemed very appreciative of.

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.

Friday night

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“To die will be an awfully big adventure.” J.M. Barrie

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Spider guard pass. Apply pressure. When opponent pushes back with hir legs, shrug/jerk hir feet off your biceps and yank them to the side. End in a slight crouch with hir near shin propped on top of your thigh.

Inside DLR pass. Grips: pants at knee on opponent’s leg side, low lapel (near waist) on other side. Press in against hir thigh. When s/he pushes back, Quickly skip your outside foot close in for balance and mule-kick the trapped leg out. Then go to the side and assume KOB. Do not let go of grips.

Sprawl on turtled opponent, crossarm beside neck, spin to the side, outside knee planted, take the back.

Many speedy drill reps. I worked with a white belt woman who hung in there surprisingly well for a white belt. She was almost dead at the end.

Long, fun roll with Chrisanne. We each got one good tap. Mine was a weird mutated gi choke that I wasn’t sure would work. I think hers was a keylock.

“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.

Oh yeah- osoto gari me again!

bjj39

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

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

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

Single-leg takedown to KOB

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

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

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

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

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