Unicorns

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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.

 

 

 

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“No matter how fast you do eet, you still have to stay here for an hour.”

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Peyton Quinn’s rules of conflict:
Don’t ignore him.
Don’t insult him.
Don’t challenge him or accept his challenge.
Leave him a face-saving exit.
Thursday lunchtime BJJ in Bellevue.

Being the last kid picked for the kickball team today landed me a black belt drilling partner (Sean). I managed to fall/roll over his hand and also clock him in the forehead within the first five minutes. Sometimes I think I should be wearing a clown suit on the mat.

Carlos had the heat cranked up to “Brazilian Beach In July” again today. We did a long sequence, adding a new piece every 10 min or so, but always starting with the double-leg from standing.

Double leg from standing. I continue to suck at wrestling takedowns. I know I’m not getting close enough to the opponent during the setup- and also, going down (and- especially-getting up again) is difficult on my bad knees. Sean wants me to change levels as a distinct step BEFORE sticking my lead foot between his feet. As I am doing the double-leg, I can’t help thinking, “Good lord, his thighs are like cement pillars.” I hope I have cement pillars someday.

Failed double-leg to circling to the back and bear hugging. You lift opponent’s feet off the mat, s/he wraps one shin around your shin to prevent being picked all the way up and dumped sideways.

You have no choice but to put opponent down. S/he reaches between hir own feet and grabs your ankle, pull to take down. (Note- when you are being taken down in this fashion, do not attempt to keep the bear hug. All that will get you is the opponent thudding down on your ribs like a cement mixer.)

Opponent steps out and pivots (with bent knee, not a big straight-leg spin that will expose the leg to grabbing) and goes to KOB, then front mount. After waiting 3 secons in each position to get points, s/he sinks one cross collar grip.

I had learned long since that one does not want to push the choking hand across one’s own throat- thus telling your opponent, “No, buddy, don’t bother to choke me- let me choke myself! No problem!” So when Carlos told us to put one hand on the wrist and one on the elbow, I thought I knew what I was doing. But he wanted us to do something that felt counter-intuitive…. PULL the wrist cuff away from the choke. This necessitated switching hands for me. I still have enough Tiger mentality that the world is all about PUSH to me… it rarely occurs to me to pull. I had to pause at this step the first few times and think it over.

Upa. After that bobble, I was so eager to move on that I explosively upa’ed the crap out of Sean, and the next thing I saw was Carlos’ face.

“Why you breedge that way?”

“Uh, that would be stupid because he can post with that hand.”

“Then why you breedge that way?”

“Because I was in too much of a hurry and didn’t think.”

“No matter how fast you do eet, you still have to stay here for an hour.”   Which actually was kind a revelation, which I will try to keep in the forefront of my mind.

After upa, guard pass. A few different variations of leg spaghetti, involving trapping the opponent’s arm across hir own body and keeping both  hir legs stretched out. I felt really off balance during the pass- like it would be easy to tip me onto my back- but Sean explained (and I saw for myself when he took his turn) that the opponent had no leverage for even the tiny push it would have taken to tip me over.

A little King Of the Hill, starting from side control. Top person try to sub, bottom person escape, catch guard or half guard. Camille got a legit sub on me. Awesome. She did a couple of abrupt switches on me- when we were straining in one direction, she suddenly switched to something else in the opposite direction and caused me to use my own force against myself. I love that, and still struggle to work it into my own game. Both white belt girls are giving great Shoulder Of Justice. They will need that, as tiny as they are.

A roll with a white belt who was delighted for me to school him in a Bunch Of Things That I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was a White Belt.  I told him that the best way to thank me would be for him to do these things to me next time we rolled. I love it when somebody kicks my ass with something I taught them.

Your heep need to move

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People get very uncomfortable around people who are very comfortable with force. -Rory Miller

Thursday no-gi, Bellevue. I had to skip last week because my tattoo was still too scabby. I did considerable exercise-like yard work, though.

Mount escapes.

1)Basic upa, begin by yanking down on foe’s shoulder if s/he has it wrapped around your neck. After you land in hir guard, Push one of hir knees to the mat and slider over hir thigh, your inside knee first. Underhook far arm. Side control. Mount, without ever lifting pressure from hir chest/shoulder/neck.

2)Mounted foe is scooting high on you, Grab your own wrist with opposite hand and form a frame to push hir hips back. Place feet as close to butt as possible and pop hips in air as hard as you can, keeping your frame in place. (Professor Carlos: “Your heep need to move!!!”) Pull your knees in and put opponent in butterfly guard. Now straighten legs to shove hir back. Sit up and scoot in (land on your hip NOW to avoid an extra step later), hug under hir arm, grab opposite bicep, butterfly sweep.

3)This was a new and tricky one. Same entry as above, only you get just one knee between Bad Guy’s legs instead of two. Stretch out to shove hir away. S/he should land with one knee up- the one opposite the side you have YOUR knee in. Swing your free leg around the OUTSIDE of hir other hip and place your foot on the hip. (Be careful to not cross- or get shoved across- hir centerline). Now pinch hir thigh between your knees and roll hir to hir outside hip, Ankle lock. (Make sure to use blade of forearm on ankle, not flat).

I had to take some allergy meds before class, so my brain was feeling a little foggy- primo conditions for injuring someone or myself- thus I elected to bow out of sparring.