Oh yeah- osoto gari me again!

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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).

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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! 😉

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

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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.

Feelin’ like a purple belt….

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A student learning self defense MUST learn force law. Otherwise it is possible to train to go to prison. A self defense response where you wind up behind bars for years is not a very good win. –Rory Miller

Evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Same techniques as this morning, drilling with Chrisanne and Lindsey.

It was one of those days where I inexplicably perform more poorly in the evening doing Round Two of the same thing than I did in the morning when it was new. Not sure why this happens, but it happens a lot… mental exhaustion?

Lindsay caught on very quickly and was doing it so fast and smooth that they eye could barely follow… I think both Chrisanne and I were feeling like drunk dancing grizzly bears in comparison.

Still having trouble with that underhook- which Prof Carlos made a point of stressing (again) is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE WHOLE THING.

One roll with Lindsay, one with Chrisanne, one with Casey. Spent much of Casey’s roll with him standing and trying to pass my open guard. We got into a really nice fast flow-roll space with it. I was a rock star. I had thirty knees and they were whipping around like a buzz saw on ‘roids. I felt like a purple belt, which is a very rare feeling for me. I hope Carlos saw at least a little of that.

Afterward, Lindsay, Casey, Carlos and I stripped half our clothes off and compared tattoos…many of which are Prof. Lindsey’s work. Casey has portraits of Carlos Gracie Sr and Helio in black and white on his flank. They look spectacular.

Ta da!!

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Understand weapons ARE the big equalizer. Up until the introduction of very efficient weapons that did not rely on strength (think the revolver, first), might DID make right. Not morally, but any moral argument put forward could be beaten to the ground. –Rory Miller

2 afternoons training with Tylik.

Mostly stancework (using the long form, although said stancework translates to all the other forms as well as, uh, standing. My most eggregious sins continue to be 1)failure to have the pelvis tilted at the right angle (which in turn messes up everything else all up and down the body), and 2)allowing my knee(s) to collapse inward (which in turn messes up everything else all up and down the body). Erroneous foot position also looms large. Some arm position stuff- bad crossing of centerline, not having arms low enough to guard against groin kick, and spreading arms too wide as if in a “ta-da!!!!” dance pose (which is NOT Tai Chi). Going over one or two tiny snatches of the form and being utterly dazzled at how many things you have to pay attention to in order to make a seemingly simple 180 degree turn. As soon as I start focusing on pelvic alignment and arm position, I forget foot position and torso turning… and vice versa.

We also did some Chen dao (actually got through the whole form). Many of the stancework items we’d been working on came up again here. I was able to troubleshoot my least favorite movement in the form- keeping in mind that the things I don’t like are always the things I feel inept at. In this case, it was a motion that Tylik performs like an avenging sword goddess and I perform like a lame chimp on opiates. But I think we pinned down what I was doing wrong this time.

I felt really good about the progress we made both days. I have a very limited attention span, and my knees start hurting after only a modest amount of stancework. But we broke the time up into managable chunks, and switched to sword (“And now for something completely different!”) just as I was about to start tearing my hair out over stancework.

It also felt very good to work on forms. I have so neglected my formwork. I am so unhappy not having a regular Tai Chi teacher/class nor a regular Kung Fu teacher/class. I miss forms. I miss Tai Chi. I miss Kung Fu. I miss striking and kicking.

Also- having spent almost the entire month on the bench for injuries, I have been very unhappy at not being able to train. It was so nice to get some training in.

Another good thing: my plantar fasciitis- while not totally gone- has slacked off to an amazingly relieving degree. That PF sucked so bad, but it did serve to be a constant un-ignorable reminder to watch my posture and balance and foot position 24/7. I was bad about doing my exercises, but the things Tylik showed me on her last visit about how to stand and step made the difference, I think. I really hope that these adjustments are now automatic and permanent, and that it will both avoid future PF as well as improve the way I move around in general.
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Holy cow, Rory Miller left a comment on one of my blog posts. He probably Googled himself and went to see who the heck has posted about five hundred of his quotes. Hope he doesn’t think I’m a stalker. I suspect that attempting to stalk Rory Miller would be a special kind of suicidal.

FYI, tattoos on the side of the ribs hurt like a mother. I have a small tat on my flank that has previously held the record for being the most painful… but the flank at least has a small layer of fat, and the side of the ribs is skin over bone. I’ve never had a tat still hurt nearly a week later, either. Additionally, I can’t put on a bra because the spandex would go right over the tat. It really is obscene and terrible for me to go around braless. It also made the Tai Chi interesting. Tai Chi is pretty much the only workout that is even on the table sans bra, and I had to wear layers of billowy clothes that completely concealed my body. Somehow, Tylik has no trouble seeing my knee turn in or my pelvis tip wrongly- I think she has X-ray vision. But seriously- these body parts were not visible by any stretch of the imagination, and it really makes a point for how those particular stance errors fuck up your posture in such an obvious way that she didn’t need to be able to see much to tell what was happening.

But as far as the tattoo- Lindsey did an awesome job. It is very meaningful to me to have tattoos- which are all martial-arts-related power glyphs to some degree, in my case- done by a fellow martial artist, and a back belt teacher of mine to boot. Makes me want to let him ink me up head to toe, ha ha. I’m working on a Sak Yant inspired design, contaminated with Chinese elements. It’s going to take a lot of time and research, though.

Proving Grounds II

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Physical force is one of the most effective ways to get what you want. “Violence never solved anything” is not just a myth, but one of those statements of breathtaking absurdity. Violence has solved most of the problems that people have had until the modern era (it’s pretty much the only thing you can do about eating and not being eaten). Weapons make violence easier and safer. –Rory Miller

We had a five-woman bracket in no-gi. That was awesome. I had to fight all four of them. All tough ladies who fought good hard fights. I was so tired.

The first two, I didn’t know. I had weight on them- which I used- and experience on them. I felt reasonably in control most of the time. Both were very flexible and squirmy, though. They made me work for it. I got the first one with a papercutter and the second one with an RNC.

Amy was next, and I knew she’d be harder. We ended the first match (which is timed) with no subs. I was on top most of the time.

Now Hadley, when I was really tired. She got me with an armbar.

I got a nice hip throw on one of them, I think it was Amy. Excited about that.

I thought they were going to have me fight Amy again, but they didn’t. I came in second.

Notes: I have ethereal control, yet I don’t think I have really found a way to use it in BJJ. There were two points today where I got in position for an RNC in such a way that my arm around the shoulders felt just like a key sliding into a lock. I then failed to finish it promptly, because for some reason I have a pattern of doing everything very slowly and deliberately… which gives the foe time to escape. Now, many people slam subs on too hard, and I’m usully advising people to slow down and be careful. But this is where I should be exploiting my control. I should be slamming faster and harder. I know I have the skill to do it without injuring people. I’m not sure what the mental block is…. I’m beginning to suspect that I’m trying to set a good example because I don’t want them to start slamming things on *ME*. It’s hard enough to get some people to chill out and quit slamming things without having to try to explain to them why I am doing it and yet they should not. In comp, though, I should let myself employ that advantage.

Since my hands are always freezing, I wear cotton fingerless elbow length gloves everywhere, indoors and out. Today figured it would be plenty toasty in the gym, so I left them at home. Of course my hands and feet were blocks of ice, while my armpits were like faucets. I kept sticking my hands in my armpits to try to warm them up, because I was worried about my grips. Next time, bring gloves **AND** warm fuzzy socks.

The toe, to my relief, did not seem to be a factor. (Thank Gods, now I can go back to class after this work rotation.)

Not sure how to improve the exhaustion factor. I ate an enormous scrambled egg breakfast and was well hydrated. I’m glad that I didn’t try to do gi today as well (although Hadley was bummed). I think there’s still a significant adrenaline dump effect going on. My nerves were perhaps a bit better than the last Rev and PG. Still there, but not with the dramatic draining weakness.

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Hey!! I won a free Revolution registration at the Grapplethon! (I think the worth of that actually leaves me in the black.)

My assistant wanted to know why I was a little late on Saturday morning, and when I told her, she gave me ten dollars to donate.

The take from the Grapplethon has hit TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy cow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have decided to get a Dauntless Flame tattoo. I made some temporary tat stickers to get the size and location (left side, far enough to not interfere with the existing kanji) right, but still waffling on color/outlining. I’d like it to have red/orange/yellow, but I think it’s going to require some back outlining. I’m going to get Fire tattooed on me on the winter solstice, which I find subversive and amusing. 😉