No flowers. Really.

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Cutting off blood to the brain, whether you call it a “vascular neck restraint”, or a “sleeper hold” or “jime waza” is reliable despite size, strength, psychosis or drugs. It is also the safest way to shut down a human. –Rory Miller

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Standup drills- double-leg setups.

Next: Same thing we’ve been doing lately, with the sprawl-twirl to the side-take the back. I need to pay extra attention to positioning myself so as to shove in that lower hook adequately. Finish with any choke. I always like the RNC. Simple, reliable. I also did a few bow-and-arrows. John was impressed with my bow-and-arrow for some reason… I’m not sure what was particularly impressive about it, but okay, I’ll take a backpat.

Spars with rotating people. I got a kneebar on somebody today.

Straight to Lindsey’s studio. Getting tattooed is surprisingly exhausting, due to the fact that you are tensing every muscle in your body for most of a two or three hour period. I don’t know how some people sit for half a day. We did about 2.5 hours, that’s the longest I’ve done (I usually draw the line at 2). It was all linework, and on the back- which is not known as one of the more painful spots, although some areas were definitely more painful than others: along the spine, the outer sides (which is technically “ribs”, which I already knew was terrible), and along the very bottom edge- like tailbone level. Lindsey had suggested putting a line of flowers down there, which I vetoed, and when he was down there doing Ox Head’s boots, I was really glad that we weren’t putting a whole freakin’ line of goddam flowers down there. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if Ox Head would look okay with just one foot.

It looks incredible so far…. you can really see my Spyderco on his belt, which tickles me no end.

I was going to try to do one 2-hour session per month or so, but several people called in cancellations while I was there and Lindsey was (rightfully) grumbling about them- so I went ahead and took a spot for tomorrow.

The tat doesn’t hurt much right now- if it feels and looks all right in the morning, I might go to class before I go back to the studio. I know I’m not really supposed to, but it’s just linework! 😉

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Dead elephants

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Look at the…. victim’s body language (There’s something wrong here,” she thinks, “but if I just don’t make eye contact or antagonize him, it will be all right.”) which was exactly what the threat was looking for. –Rory Miller

Weds/Thurs: Slept very, very badly. Woke up at least half a dozen times, and started a new nightmare every time. Most of which featured Autumn ’11. I was looking forward to Autumn ’14 as a reasonable benchmark for being fucking OVER Autumn ’11. I guess not. I’d like to strangle the idiot who said, “Time heals all wounds”. Fuck you, you saccharine patronizing simplistic optimist.

Almost as bad as the nightmares themselves is the pervading feeling- over the following several days after having just one- that I am wearing an overcoat sewn out of dead elephants. Exhausted, depressed, aching. I just want this shit gone. It makes alcoholism look like an attractive solution.

I also had another nightmare about someone breaking into the house, me shooting them, and the gun failing to fire. The peculiar part of this is that I feel really comfortable with the gun and my handling of same. Even in the dream, I was calm and collected and did everything right. My brain is taking my insecurities over my UNARMED defense techniques and transmogrifying them onto the only part of my skill set that I do feel okay about. It’s a fascinating example of self-sabotage.

Lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue. Considering how poorly I had slept, I decided to skip evening class. I might have been able to handle the class, but I was worried about being fully conscious behind the wheel for the drive home afterward. Also- it quickly became plain that the traffic and parties for the Seahawks home opener were getting well underway by 2pm, so anyone with a shred of sense would be advised to flee as far from Seattle as possible.

Drill day. Start with partner in turtle while you press your chest to the patch on hir back and scoot from one side of hir to the other. Just to make it more challenging, put your hands behind your back. No knees on the floor. Looks simple enough, but two minutes of this feels like twenty.

Add a block of the arm to the beginning of this, and a gable-grip hug (sash style, over the shoulder closest to you) at the end.

Now add switching the leg and taking the back.

After this, we had several short rounds of drilling whatever we wanted. I tried to pick mostly things I suck at: sweeps, armbars from guard. Partner did the following:

From closed guard, cross grab opponent’s wrist. Put your free hand under hir elbow (same side) and grab your own wrist in a kimura grip. Hip out. Now there is a plethora of subs you can do from here.

I found this very interesting, so I used it for the rest of my drill sessions, substituting an array of subs (including a few partner had not thought of). Of course the arm spaghetti- getting the correct grips on the correct arms with the correct hands- was my challenge here. Also, partner notes that the hip out is the key.

One spar with Justin. Fun and competitive. We each won a good tap.

She might bake me a cake.

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The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. The hermit crab is a colorful example of a creature that lives by this aspect of the growth process (albeit without our psychological baggage). As the crab gets bigger, it needs to find a more spacious shell. So the slow, lumbering creature goes on a quest for a new home. If an appropriate new shell is not found quickly, a terribly delicate moment of truth arises. A soft creature that is used to the protection of built-in armor must now go out into the world, exposed to predators in all its mushy vulnerability. That learning phase in between shells is where our growth can spring from. Someone stuck with an entity theory of intelligence is like an anorexic hermit crab, starving itself so that it doesn’t grow to have to find a new shell. Josh Waitzkin, “The Art Of Learning”

136

Saturday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.

Same thing we did on Thursday, from the butterfly guard….

Same thing we did on Thursday, sprawling on the turtle…..

Begin in side control, opponent (role-playing as a doofus who knows nothing about BJJ) rolls away from you. As hir hip comes off the floor, shoot your leg under it, take the back.

New and incredibly fascinating detail: as you take the back, you may place your forearm on opponent’s jaw and grip your own wrist with the opposite hand, then pull on that grip. This can work if you try for the choke and their chin is too far down- it requires a fulcrum point higher on the face. It’s a very “Cindy” sort of move. (hee hee). She has done this to me. I liked it, though. Once I got the targeting down, I could hit it very smooth, quick and easy. It hurts like a mofo. It seemed like a neck crank to me, although Carlos called it a “crossface” and when I called him over to ask if I would get DQ’ed for doing this in a comp, he waffled. I said to Chrisanne, “Cindy would probably be delighted if I got myself DQ’ed in a tournament for doing something “mean”. She might bake me a cake.” 😉

As per usual on Saturdays, we did many many many drill reps. As I was working with Chrisanne and we had done 2 of these before, we were whipping them out. I was getting pretty tired by the end, and only had enough gas for 2 spars- one with a blue belt I’ve never seen before and one with Z.

That’s because they have been working with CINDY.

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Addiction is huge in crimes…. Because it is one of the few things that we experience in the modern era that imitates survival violence. Whatever you might do for food or water on the edge of death is what an addict will do to feed his addiction. –Rory Miller

136

Friday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.

You are sprawled N/S on turtled opponent. Cross right arm over your chest and stick it straight down to the mat beside hir neck as you spin to that side of hir body. Grab hir wrist. Hop to place your right knee against hir, take the back, KEEP THAT WRIST GRIP. This appears to be a straightforward attempt to take the back, but if you keep that wrist grip and throw your leg over opponent’s head as you fall back, it turns into an armbar.

I got this really nice and smooth after several tries…. and then OF COURSE professor walks over to look JUST as I try to do it on the stupid side and mess it all up. Why does he always time it thusly???!!!

Same thing, only opponent clasps hands to try to defend the armbar. You transition back to the backtake.

One spar with Crisanne. She is doing great- assertive, heavy pressure on top, everything really tight. She tapped me twice. I wasn’t going 100%, but I was going hard enough that I was quite impressed with her work. Lindsey rolled with her next, and when I saw him at his studio afterward, he raved (unprompted by me) about how much her jiu jitsu has progressed. He specifically praised her assertiveness (again, unprompted by me). I could just pop with pride. I PM’ed her and told her about it, and told her how proud I am of her.

Dieting angst: I might have had the time and energy for at least one more spar had I not been hungry enough to start chewing the mat. I am not sure how to deal with this issue. I could carry energy bars, but I really don’t want to eat those caloric things while I’m trying to lose weight. I do carry Slim-Fast’s for emergencies, but if I drink one of those and then try to roll, I am pretty sure I’d puke.

After class (and lunch), I went to Lindsey’s studio and we put together my backpiece, part of which is the Ox Head pic that I used on yesterday’s blogpost. I took my own weapons to the studio- we are going to arm him with my own bo staff, K-bar Khukri and Spyderco folding knife. The Victorian goth angel on the other half of the piece is going to have my actual tai chi sword. Lindsey is excited about the art, which is great- it’s always a good thing when your tattoo artist actually likes the piece and you know s/he’s going to enjoy working on it.

Evening BJJ in Bellevue. Doug got a big grin on his face as soon as he walked in and saw me, and challenged me to a death match. I’m feeling so much love from my teammates this week. Honestly, I have just worked with so many awesome drill partners and sparring partners- people who push me, and with whom I have fun, and from whom I learn. I am gonna have to write a gooshy FB post to all three GB pods.

Almost all King Of the Hill from various positions with Prof’s Doug and Sean down. Haven’t done this for a while, and after three classes in two days, this was probably the best possible thing as opposed to trying to cram yet another set of techniques. There were only about 6 of us (besides the Prof’s), so we did not get much downtime.

Did I mention how fortunate I am feeling at class this week??? Six students and three black belts on the mat. Who gets these ratios???? How incredible is this?

Doug and Sean were raving after class about what good wrestlers the two unfamilar (to them) white belts were. I said (since they were familiar to ME!) “Yes, that’s because they are from the Kirkland pod and they have been working with CINDY!!!!!)

Two long spars with Christy. She is also working very hard and doing extremely well. She- like Chrisanne- is very very good about listening to everything I say and incorporating it into her game. I tried to KOB and mount her several times, and she got the hell outta there before I could count 3. I’m so proud of my ladies.

Then one with Doug. Always a treat. I was doing a lot of skating around from side to side on top, very flowy. Something I always can use practice on.

It’s a purple belt world.

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Standing up to a person only draws a line around your territory. Defending it is what keeps you safe. –Marc MacYoung

Sunday: 134.2

I know intellectually that pop bloats you, but it is truly astounding to what extent decreasing (not eliminating, just decreasing) the amount of pop for just two days has deflated the appearance of my protruding Buddha-belly. I swear, dieting would be so much easier if I was more vain about my appearance.

But here’s something that actually MIGHT inspire me: concealing my pistol in its belly-holster may be easier if my belly is flatter. Yeah, that’s it.

Also, when I lose weight, my boobs get smaller. Lord knows, life is better on the martial arts mat with every cup size lower.

Unfortunately, past history has proven that for me- unlike most people- eliminating pop altogether does not result in immediate weight loss.

Monday: 135.6
Tues: 135.6

Eggs- it’s what’s for dinner. And lunch. Tonight my assistant informed me that if I didn’t lay off the carrots, I was going to turn orange. I informed her that I was okay with that, as long as I am FIT and orange.

Thurs: 136

I’ve been really really good all week with food. Less food and wiser choices. Slightly less successful with pop, but I did cut down.

Leslie, Casey and Cindy are all injured and off the mat. I’m feeling grateful and privileged at the moment that I’m not on the bench, because I know well how that feels.

Thurs lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

(blue belt) Jay, looking up and down the line: “We’re the only two blue belts??!”
(blue belt) Nick: “Guess so.”

They look left at the three or four white belts, then they look right at the eight or ten purple belts. Jay mutters something about “………..purple belts…..”

Kitsune: “It’s a purple belt world, Jay.”
Jay: “So they tell me, Kitsune…. so they tell me.”

Standup drills- double legs, single legs, sprawl on opponent’s failed double-leg and then spin around to the side and take the back. Carlos suggested pulling the guy into your lap instead of jumping on hir back.

Opponent kneeling, you in butterfly guard. Cross-grip the arm and yank hir to all fours. Sink one leg into a deep half guard position, then take hir back either by climbing aboard or pulling hir into your lap. I do not feel comfortable with this technique on someone bigger than me (which means 99.9% of people). Once I have that leg sunk in there, all s/he has to do is sink down on it, and I am pinned on the bottom. If s/he’s going to be mean, s/he can just keel over and capsize on top of me and crush me like a cockroach. I am in a position with a very limited set of options, and have no mobility to get elsewhere. Even John was like, “I guess this isn’t really workable for your body,” after we messed with it for a while. I won’t say of a technique, “I _CAN’T_ do X with my body” because every time I try to go there, Cindy (who is as small as I) does it with no problem. So I won’t write it off…. but for my present level, this doesn’t seem like a good one.

Positional sparring from the above position. I sucked from heep half, but I am pretty good at escaping back mount- even after explaining to John exactly what he needed to do to stop me.

A couple of spars.

Thurs evening BJJ in Kirkland. I haven’t been to Kirkland in ages, and I miss Dave. I miss Cindy too, but Mondays and Wednesdays are not good for training, with my present work schedule- I haven’t seen her in a couple of months. 😦

Warmups at Kirkland are longer and more tiring than they usually are at Bellevue. It’s a good thing (pant, puff).

Pummeling. I suggested to white belt that he not bend at the waist, but bend his knees if he finds me too short to comfortably pummel with. He did not straighten up. Okay, fine, buddy, take it or leave it. I don’t care. I’m going to guillotine the snot out of you if you do that while we’re sparring.

Flow drill: You on your back, partner standing, your feet on hir hips. S/he grabs your legs and tosses them to one side, steps to your hip. You shrimp out, cross far leg over top and replace guard.

Guillotines from standing; operating from failed double-leg.

Keylocks from mount. Dave suggests that if we’re having trouble getting opponent’s arms off hir chest, to first press the elbow down and then lever the wrist to the side.

Same entry, then opponent tries to roll away from your keylock. Transition to S mount, do not change grips. Clasp hir arm to your chest and straighten your back. Transition to armbar. You still do not need to change grips. Found myself wanting to, but tried to resist urge.

Same entry, now try to bow and arrow hir instead of armbar. Variation: windshield-wipe your shin against hir back and sit, pulling hir into your lap. Kick that leg out and place it over hir arm.

Also note: it is helpful to take up any slack in that pantleg before securing the grip near the knee.

A few spars.

Really tired. This two-classes-per-day thing is not easy. I am going to try to do it again tomorrow.

Thank you for showing up.

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Absence is the most efficient survival strategy. –Rory Miller

Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Taking nearly a month off class does not appear to have had any effect on my injured elbow. It was a bit worse after the tournament. I’m frustrated with it, but I guess it’s time to just suck it up and keep going, working around it as best as possible.

Drilled with a new woman- Christy. She’s already got some really good basics. She informed me that she had “HEARD of me”. Geez. Cindy was present today, and immediately proceeded to tell Christy all about how I like to neck-crank little kids.

Butterfly guard. You grab opponent’s ankles. Place left foot in hir rt hip. Turn on your right hip and pull hir left leg crossways across your lap. Your right knee should be under this leg. Curl up and scoot in terribly close, low, as if you are trying to crawl right up hir butt. Do not let go of the ankle. Once you are tucked right up in there, you can let go of the ankle and grab the back of hir belt. Technical lift to get your leg in position to take the back.

You standing, opponent on hir back with feet up. You swipe hir left foot to the side and step your right foot to hir left hip. Hike up on one leg and paste your bent left leg against hir left leg, right under the knee. Fall onto your right hip. Pinch knees together, opponent’s leg between them. Grab the pantleg. Tripod up, in a sort of KOB position, only you are KOT (knee on thigh). Keep the shin, and pressure down on the thigh to keep them there. Grab the near lapel. When s/he pushes back, pull the leg, turn your hip and go to side control.

I was at first grabbing the far lapel, as I generally like to do, and Prof. Carlos came over to correct me.

Kitsune: “Why don’t I want to hold the far lapel?”
Carlos: “You want to try eet on me?”
Kitsune: “NO.”

Christy was kind enough to rescue me at that point by setting up an armbar to demo why you don’t want to hold that lapel, and I’m sure she did it much gentler than Carlos would have. I thanked her humbly.

Christy had a brace on her ankle, so I was being extra careful, but Carlos still came over to warn me to fall on my HIP and not my back, so as not to injure her. He even started to suggest that I switch to the other side, but she demurred. Now, I’m very happy that he is diligent about looking out for everyone’s safety, especially the women. But it irritates me and hurts my feelings when he acts like he thinks I’m going to injure people by being careless. I know Cindy’s just giving me crap when she does this- she knows that I’m very careful and I am extremely safe for anyone to work with. I can’t help thinking that that *ONE* time that I accidentally extended Kelly’s elbow a bit too much and she yelped during drills has burned into his mind that I’m unsafe. That was a very, very, VERY isolated incident in a long history of safe martial arts partnering, and she was *FINE*. I wish we could put that in the past. I don’t like feeling that Carlos regards me as an unsafe partner.

Several rounds of positional sparring from butterfly guard. Then one round with Christy and one with Nelson. Nice to see him again. He has cracked his floating ribs. He actually went to the doctor, so you know it hurts pretty damn bad.

When we lined up to bow out, Carlos thanked a number of people for a number of different things, and then added, “Thank you Keetsune, for showing up.” Blush.

Brotherhood Of the Banned

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The primary skill, rarely practiced or taught, in defense weapons is getting the weapon into play in the first place. Drawing under close assault. –Rory Miller

Lunchtime BJJ at Bellevue.

You are seated, opponent standing before you grabbing your pants at the inside of one knee. Cross grab hir arm, use it to pull yourself up and around (Your inside foot remains planted between hir feet, your outside knee bends as you life yourself) and rear clench.

Opponent tries to butterfly sweep you. You post on your outside hand, slide your OTHER SIDE knee between hir legs, then launch backwards into side control (or the back, if s/he fails to roll back, which is difficult for hir due to you trapping hir leg)

Standing pass of DLR guard.

Multiple short spars with the same person (John).

Later…………

An hour and a half rolling with Kelly, first gi and then no-gi. We started from standup each time- and she took me down with the same wrestling takedown every time; I was unable to either defend or land in a decent position. Needs more work. I stopped trying to hang onto her neck after I once got a really disquieting set of cracking sounds as I went down on my ass. (Wide-eyed: “Are you okay?!!!??” “Yeah.” “If you had closed your eyes and dropped to the mat, I would have had a fuckin’ heart attack.”) I tapped her twice, she tapped me about ten times. I won’t say it wasn’t frustrating- especially the amount of time I spent trapped on the bottom- but she is really good practice for me.

——————————
Georgette feels that women have the right to know that they are learning self defense from an accused rapist, and that they have an accused rapist between their legs in jiu jitsu class. The following Facebook page has been created for the purpose of

1)whining that poor sweet Mat Maldonado is being “stalked” and “harrassed” online, and

2)posting photos of Georgette, her work address, her salary, and pleas for people to call her employer.

Um, yeah.

https://www.facebook.com/justice4matt

Please visit the page and share your feelings.

A bunch of us have already reported the page to Facebook for harassing Georgette, but please add your complaint to the list.

He is still swaggering about saying that he did nothing wrong… my hope is that the next time he has the opportunity to do what he did, he will think about all this “unjust harassment” that resulted, and decide that it just isn’t worth it.

I am proud to report that two of my awesome teammates- Griff and Casey- as well as myself and a whole bunch of other people have been banned from posting on the page and had all of our comments censored. Please join our Brotherhood Of the Banned. 🙂

Hurts so good

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

Saturday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.

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

Drills to exhaustion:

Standup- Single leg

Guard pass to kimura

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

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

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

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

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

Next stop: Vanquishville

bjj25

Writing advice:

If you try to edit the passionate to make it more clear, you will ruin it.

If you try to edit the clarity to make it more passionate, you will ruin it.

Run with the type of good that you have.

–Rory Miller

129

That gal who murdered me at the comp last weekend got her purple belt this week. I should have her to fight in gi for future Revolutions, I hope.

I registered for Proving Grounds II for just no-gi.

Monday lunchtime BJJ in Kirkland.

KOTH from various positions.

Then Cindy and I drilled no-gi standup: one hook behind the head, other bicep grip of some stripe. Then duck under on the bicep side (keep very close to opponent, head up) and hug from the back. Gable grip. Place feet behind opponent’s feet, toes out. Situate center of gravity ABOVE opponent’s COG. Then sit, with opponent in your lap. (If you fail to place your center of gravity above hirs before you do this, you will pull hir down right on your belly.) Hooks in. Choke.

A little sparring with Cindy and Dave.

The Defeatist Beast was hanging hard on my back today. I couldn’t seem to do anything right, and I wish I could say that I even gave a shit enough to be frustrated. In the land beyond Frustrated lies the blighted kingdom of “Why Bother? I can’t do this. Fuck it.” I hate finding myself here, but it seems to be a regular stop on the tour. There doesn’t seem to be anything to do but put one’s head down and push through it.

Lessons from no-gi

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Most people live at a comfortable distance from their bodies. As humans, we spend so much time inside our heads that we often forget the way out. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path

It was gratifying to learn that Ben and even Carlos are sore today as well. I had to tape all eight fingers tonight. I am so sore, and so tired… but I can’t blow off lunchtime class tomorrow, because I’ve been cyberstalking Angela all week bugging her to come in. I need to not only show up, but make it worth her while. Ahhh- I’m exhausted just thinking about it!!!

Lessons learned in no-gi tonight:

1)If you think you might have to fight everyone in the room, DON’T leave all the biggest, scariest guys for last.

1b)Don’t leave the professor for DEAD last, when you’re wrung out and can’t make a decent account of yourself.

2)My standard spar opening of pouncing on the opponent, applying top half guard, and then passing works great on most people, but NOT on black belts. I have learned to not stick my right arm between Cindy’s neck and left shoulder, because she promptly armbars it every single time. Tonight Carlos did the exact same thing. I usually stick that arm in there and then work for position. I wonder if it would work if only I operated faster and more forcefully. IE, give them something more immediately pressing to deal with before they can slap the armbar on, and/or get my shoulder socketed in there posthaste. A “meathook” behind the neck instead of placing my forearm there might be a better option as well.

3)Kelly passes my guard repeatedly with that same “seatbelt” pass that JB likes. I need to stop letting her set that up, because once she has it set up, I can’t seem to stop her from completing it.

4)I tend to be hesitant about putting hooks in while perched on the backs of huge turtling guys. They simply use an elbow to pin one of my feet to their ribs and then capsize sideways, trapping me underneath. If I do choose to commit to hooks, I need to commit to a fast, hard, technically perfect chokehold at the same time. No applying hooks and then working for position.

5)I think I am spending too much time working for position- full stop. I should try less futzing around and more FINISHING. Even when I think I’m getting a head start by pouncing and applying a position, I am *still* kinda waiting around to see how they respond, and then I’m on the reactive end of the equation yet again.

6)You can’t grit your teeth and wait out one of Carlos’ subs. He won’t give up, because he *KNOWS* he has it on right.

My belt was sopping by the end of class tonight. People who don’t launder their belts….. eeeeww.