Saturday, August 28, 2010

This keeps me going with a smile on my face...

You know I've been feeling sick lately. Work has been all over my buttocks with deadlines, and I have half a dozen writing projects I keep wanting to do, but there's just no time. Sometimes I look at the blog and think, sorry babe, I got nothin' for ya. I despair of having anything interesting to report, especially when I'm busy and sick and just not training in the right mental place. But, then...I got a super nice compliment today... Tim wrote,

"I just want to say thank you for your tireless dedication to the art of jiu-jitsu and your blog. I read it every day and it has helped to forge the jiujitsuka that I am today and hope to be in the future. Muito Obrigado and Osu!"

Wow. My instinct towards self-deprecation lunged to the fore and wanted to say "buddy, you need better role models." But I am honored and deeply touched. After all, he just said "helped" so it's not like he doesn't have other, better people to model-- and maybe in some way it's good to see the mistakes and failures of this random mediocre bluebelt out there. I love, love, love being part of this international community of jitsukas... every time I look on my little blog analysis thingie (sitemeter, it's free, it's awesome!) I can see who is online right then, and there's so many parts of the world represented! And they're reading OUR WORDS! (um, yeah, not just me... when you comment, you're out there too.. I love it!) I find people on every continent, every day on this blog and it just stuns me.. amazes me.. and totally completely humbles me. I had famous blackbelts come up to me (to me!!) at the Pans and tell me they read my blog. WOW.

So thanks guys. I'm sorry I'm not writing much the last couple days/weeks. I am still thinking jits (and when I fall asleep on the couch I'm dreaming it. I invented a kick ass choke!! but forgot it as I woke up.. isn't that just my luck?) and I appreciate your patience, I will be back.

Still sickie...

Uh. I feel punky.

Yesterday was feeling better, so I did go to lunch open mat. Rolled maybe 30 min and felt like it was 90... fatigued, trembly, lightheaded... so I sat out the rest. Came home after work and ran another fever-- spent the evening on the couch covered in blankets. Sucked. My back is killing me because I'm not used to spending this much time prone, my head and eyeballs hurt, I'm hot, and I'm snotty.

One upside is I'm finally copying some files to my instructor's harddrive which he gave me weeks ago. And I'm finally doing my gi design for Meerkat and Part Time Grappler's contest.

This afternoon is Relson's seminar and honestly I might just watch. No one likes a Typhoid Mary. Tonight is some great UFC, and I need to make something to bring to that and to my friend Bill's housewarming party.

I just wish I could shake this thing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

World travelers...

If you haven't been checking out Dev's adventures in South America, you should be. He's there for a language immersion program and training his butt off. And bringing home bling, too.

Then there's Christian Graugart. He's a Danish brown belt who writes a great blog and is now leaving on the kind of trip I dream of-- backpacking around the world and grappling everywhere.



Check out Christian's blog for the trip, BJJ Globetrotter, and let him know if you can help-- where should he train? competition coming up? got a couch he could crash on?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm sick.

Last night was par for the course Donald awesomeness, with some new judo moves.

But I woke up this morning sick. Sore throat, swollen painful glands, fever. I promised rides to two training partners so I got up and got them... then promptly laid down on the mat and fell asleep for the whole class.

After a division meeting at my office, came home, went back to bed.

Feel like garbage.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cane Prevost, black belt.... CONGRATS!

Ya'll know I pretty much worship the ground Cane Prevost blogs on... the SBGi philosophy shines through his amazing writing and teaching style even though I'm at the opposite end of the country from his Oregon school. Well, he's a black belt now!



From left to right: Rick Davison, Travis Davison, Cane Prevost, and Matt Thornton...

Some of his thoughts today on this big step:

". . . [Y]ears later and I’m at this important milestone. It’s been quite a journey. When I started I thought that black belts were somewhere near gods in terms of their skill, knowledge, and technique. I was sure they were invincible. I’m quite astonished now to see how much Jiu Jitsu I don’t know. Tip of the iceberg is an apt metaphor I guess. Frankly I thought I’d be more skillful and knowledgeable than I am now. It’s not a disappointment though. It’s just not what I thought it’d be. I feel much like a newborn baby again. Like a white belt again. The more I learn the bigger Jiu Jitsu gets. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I will never feel invincible or like an expert.

Not sure how long it takes to feel like a black belt? I get tapped out all the time by these young athletic purple belts and the black belts at the gym just crush me. I was really only just starting to feel comfortable as a brown belt. Truth is though I’m the last person to be able to judge my own skill level. That’s the way it always is."

Pretty cool, Cane. Parabens, Faixa Preta :)

Parabens Paul!

Congrats to Paul Zen (aka Zen Walker) on his purple belt, awarded by Rigan Machado... Paul trains under Rigan at Rigan's academy in LA.



Monday, August 23, 2010

Super sleepy.

It's that drowsy, didn't get enough sleep, been reading all day, warm and still and cosy feeling...

Been busy lately, no surprise. Friday I did lunch open mat and an hour in the evening, which was all good but by now is all gone from my brain, sadly.

Saturday morning, hubs and I bailed on mowing the yard or doing anything workish and instead had breakfast out. Belgian waffles, check :) Saturday class was good-- the Giberson warmup was slightly more demanding than usual which I enjoyed, except for the wall stands (feet on wall about 4' up, hands on the mat, keep back straight.) Class was focused on escaping north-south. I got some excellent drilling in afterwards with a whitebelt guy whose name I forget-- tall, lanky, auburn hair and just a little heavier than me, been training a couple months. He wanted to work guard and guard passing so it was a good opportunity for me. Saturday night the gang hit a local place for dinner and to watch Strikeforce, where one of our teammates Tim Kennedy went to war with Jacare. Sadly, after 5 rounds it went to the judges who picked Jacare, but we were happy with his effort. I thought most of the fights were kind of boring, to be honest, but Noons really irked me with his after the bell shot and his headkick to the downed opponent...

Sunday started with awesomeness in the form of a private with Donald Park. I needed some review on side control, both keeping it from the top (and making people miserable on the bottom) and getting out of it on the bottom. Also got some help on my armbars from there... then jumped into class where crucifix attacks were on the menu. Had fun with that for sure.

Lazy Sunday afternoon with some shopping and reading and laundry, and got to hang out with my girlfriend for some late-night gab and tea. Unfortunately time got away from us and I didn't get to sleep till 1ish! Which made getting up this morning for training just suckitude. Good rolls though.

Skipped lunch open mat-- going home to make dinner, and if we're done relatively early, I will head back to the academy around 7.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I love spontaneous classes.

Late last night Donald got a wild hair to teach early this morning, so a lucky few of us gathered around at 6:30am. We were well-rewarded with judo, reverse kesa offense, and some review on basics from the bottom. :)

I'm off to open mat for lunch. Enjoy this summer dessert in the meantime.

Peach Beehives with Sauce

* 4 small ripe peaches, washed and dried
* 1 (9 inch) prepared, unbaked pie crust, thawed
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1 pinch salt
* 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease the bottom of a shallow baking pan.

2. Unroll the prepared pie crust onto a lightly floured surface, and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips. Place peach stem side down, and wrap strips of dough--over-lapping rows--around the fruit so it's completely covered. For ease, twirl the peach while holding the pastry in place and overlap rows. When completely wrapped, the peach will resemble a beehive. Make sure the entire peach is covered and sealed inside the crust. Repeat with remaining peaches. Arrange the wrapped peaches in a shallow baking pan.

3. Bake peaches in preheated oven until crust turns golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cream butter with 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, allspice, salt, and heavy cream until well blended. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar.

5. To serve, place baked peaches in serving bowls. Slice each peach in half and remove the pits. Spoon sauce over the peach halves.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How men should roll with women.

I read a post today, sent to me by Elyse of Gringa BJJ, on the MMA in DC blog about some ethical guidelines for men rolling with women in BJJ.. it prompted some thoughts. Only now the post is down (I was trying this link) so instead of editing, I'll try to come up with my own.

1. Don't handle us with kid gloves like we'll break. We're a tough bunch. But please DO take into consideration the weight/size disparity. Knee on belly is fine, but be controlled and aware of your weight placement, and remember you can break ribs with your knees.

2. Don't mix business with pleasure. By this I mean what I think is pretty obvious-- we ladies are in the class to learn BJJ, not find a date. If you think we're awesome, by all means, develop a friendship or even cultivate something beyond that, but do it off the mats and outside of class. And really think it through- what will that relationship do to the harmony of your academy (whether you live happily forever after, or break up in a month) and your respective relationships with jiu jitsu? And please be gentlemen, meaning keep your mouth shut about your personal life and hers.

3. Be a little more gentle with the newest girls. I think this is obvious to 99.999% of people. For example-- some survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence take up jits for the self defense and empowerment angle. You probably don't think of mount as a particularly terrifying position (beyond the strategic disadvantage of course) but it might bring back bad memories for her. So be sensitive to the possible needs of the newer ladies.

Drop me a comment-- what do you think should be added?

Last: unrelated music fun. Morgan Page remix. Video a little silly, but it's a good tune.



Another Morgan Page remix.

Stacked up and backed up...

Too much on my plate right now. I have ridiculous numbers of deadlines at work, which have to take first priority. Things are looking up on my husband's job-seeking front (can't say more just yet but looks like good news!) Training's going super well though I still have something going on in my right shoulder/neck. My girlfriend Ali is coming in town this Saturday so it will be good to see her (but I need to fold all that laundry and tidy up a bit!)

And as for this blog, I have had several things on the back burner for a while. Some great results from friends who are dyeing gis and getting airbrushed works of art-- wanted to post those pictures. Photos and a report from Girls in Gis, which I need to write up for Texas MMA. An interview with and article about Aihui Xu, China's first female blue belt in BJJ, for Submission Control. And of course I want to design my entries for Seymour's "Project Runway" gi competition... though I am no artist! (I know an artist or two, maybe I'll get some help or at least the loan of some crayons. I'm old skool, none of this Photoshop/Illustrator stuff.)

And then there's my new crush on Ronda Rousey, judoka.







Last, check this out-- Home Depot has a program for Olympians like Ronda, where they get paid a full time salary but only work parttime, so they can continue training... at the end is a link you should click on which gives $1 per click to the program.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leticia Ribeiro back to Texas for a co-ed seminar!

3rd Degree Black Belt Leticia Ribeiro will be coming to Rodrigo Pinheiro Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (San Antonio, Texas) on September 25, 2010 for a 3 hour seminar, starting at noon. She really needs no introduction, but I could note the following from her resume:

4 x World Champion
3 x Pan American Champion
European Champion
5 x Brazilian Champion
6 x Rio State Champion

The seminar she held in Dallas for Fenom Project was amazing. Check out this highlight video-- which features my teammates Leila and Shama towards the end (and yes, you-know-who in the tiedye from Happy Kimonos.)



Please let all of your training partners and your gym know about her upcoming visit to RPBJJ. This seminar welcomes MEN AND WOMEN. She will have a few spots available for private lessons. $50 for Rodrigo Pinheiro Students, and $60 for non-members. Please contact Rodrigo Pinheiro if you want to set up a private.

Come train with one of the best Jiu Jitsu teachers around!

Fantastic harai goshi...

This womens nogi match is maybe 30 seconds long. Thanks to Jadon Ortlepp for linking me to it. The blonde chick Rhonda Rousey was (I believe) an Olympic silver medalist in judo. All the women got lumped together in one category, so not really sandbagging.

Watch it here.

Then watch her at the 2008 Olympic trials... nice transition from the harai goshi to some kind of a reap..

Nice juji gatame from her here... beautiful transition from the back...

Random exciting ippon highlights... no, not all seoi nages... check out the whateveritis at 1:58...

Then this one... Hiroaka's reaps are freaking GORGEOUS.

Design your own gi... Contest of the Century :)

Check out the contest here!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dallas ladies-- self defense seminar!

Steve Hall is teaching a self-defense for ladies seminar this upcoming Sunday August 22 at his academy, Pesadelo Jiu Jitsu (1607 W. Mockingbird Ln. Dallas, TX. 75235). This is his first in Dallas, and he is offering a 2 for 1 special.

If you don't know him, he's a very talented instructor and jiu jitsu black belt competitor. He just took gold in the adult blackbelt ultra heavy class at the IBJJF Las Vegas Open.



If you or anyone you know would be interested, please contact Steve at info@pbjj.net or 214.264.6666. The class will be 2 1/2 hours for $50. (30min Theory, 2hrs practical).

Space is limited to maximize the learning experience!

God Bless and please pass this on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Things to work on

foot in hip guard pull/sweep
sideways jump guard and sweep series
standing open guard sweeps
hane goshi [edit: I'm told the proper name is hiza guruma]
osoto gari
all the different seoi nages
the inner leg reap
Phil's mount escape
the delicious sweep
the flower sweep
loop choke

to ask for:

review of Max's rolling loop series

Peach salsa.

This makes a yummy salsa for pork, fish or chicken. It's not really the kind you eat with chips.

Ingredients:
10 ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 onions, finely chopped
2 lg/3 sm fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and
chopped
2 pears - peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
Jalapenos, seeded and ribs removed, chopped (2-4 depending on their heat and your preferences)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons pickling spice, wrapped in cheesecloth

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan, bring to a boil the tomatoes, onions, peaches, pears, peppers, sugar, vinegar and salt. Reduce heat. Place the pickling spice into the mixture. Stirring frequently, simmer 1 1/2 hours, or until volume is reduced by half.
2. Discard spice bag. Transfer the mixture to sterile containers. Store in the refrigerator until use.

Catching up...

Friday morning, we had a very small group- 4 of us. Two purples and two blues. I got some one-on-one time with Tommy, the purple who tapped out cancer, and learned a sneaky little leg reap you do from sitting guard which was nice. Also spent a few minutes working on my open guard- why overhooking during a knee-through was less effective than hipping out and getting the other knee across their torso.

Rolled with Max and his %&*$#@! deep half guard. That sucked. But I did pass his non-DHG half guard, got a solid tight side control, and almost armbarred him.. and then he showed me two counters to the hitchhiker escape (Gable-grip, elbow to chest, break grips and then either lean towards feet or grab meat of thumb and hold facing up.) He also showed me a variation on attacking the back (which can start when you only have one hook in, or any time you have double grips on one arm, and ends in a quirky armbar. Sweet.)

Saturday class was good-- a variety of transitional movements from side to mount, S mount, and another interesting unconventional (for us) armbar. Then, hubs and I went to San Antonio for a salsa event and I actually got out on the floor and danced. Several songs even. Loved getting to see my girlfriend Magna who was performing wonderfully that night... and after, hubs and I went to a Denny's where I actually had quality foodies.

Sunday was training with Josh, our 3 str brown at the San Antonio facility, and then Girls in Gis. I'll post a full review of Girls in Gis with pictures and everything on TxMMA.org in the next few days and I promise to link to it from here :) Josh taught me a nice guard pull/sweep combo which I try to use, despite Phil's obstreperousness, and some thoughts on sweeping from open guard which proved very useful. I had a great time at the GiG thing, rolled with some cool blues and a teenager from our East Texas affiliate who was so enthusiastic and fun to play with.

Then this morning I was pretty much solid with Phil. He taught me a variation on the pendulum sweep from guard, and the Delicious sweep (a reversal from bottom side control) which I plan on utilizing asap.. I passed his guard at least twice but it was like climbing Everest while carrying the Sherpas. Had one or two nifty moments, including an armbar I fought like hell to get and a triangle-armbar that I let go of, obliviously, at the same moment he was tapping the mat. Woot! I didn't even count all his subs on me.

Now I'm playing catchup at work... too many deadlines!

I'm full up on gis but if you're not:

From now until August 25, 2010 at the Atama website , use the coupon code SAVEMORE to get some sweet discounts:

save 10% on orders up to $150
save 15% on orders over $150
save 25% on orders over $300.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Great youtube stuff for BJJ....

According to people in the know, there's a channel on Youtube called "Trumpet Dan BJJ" that is just full of excellently-shot, technically useful, high level stuff, accompanied by live competition footage of greats like Roger, Marcelo etc pulling off the moves. Only problem is, he posts one technique for every 10 new subscribers. So, people, check it out, and subscribe to his channel so he'll post more vids!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Girls in Gis this weekend... and judo last night...

Yesterday we had a sudden thunderstorm for about 30 minutes in the middle of the afternoon; of course, the sun came back out and just baked the moisture back up into the air. Blech. (And I had to run out to the roof of the parking garage where I'd left my car windows cracked-- good thing I thought of it, there was a good bit of rain coming in.) So class last night was incredibly hot, steamy and sticky.

My judo buddy Spencer met me there and let me toss him around for feedback. Yet another variation on the seoi nage, more work on the inner foot reap thingamabob and the osoto gari. After about 45 minutes of this he was cooked, pooped and hungry so I took him to his house then came back for punishment. Rolled with new blue and really tried to be fluid, do stuff from the wrong (retarded) side, let up on the pressure when she did the "right" thing, and so on. Again I have lots more sympathy for you bigger guys on my roster.. and yet I can also see why you go with me, too, because I did appreciate the extra sweeps I started seeing here and there (because I knew I could loft her, I suppose.)

Then I went nogi with Jason and we were slip-slidin' around through puddles of sweat standing on the mats.. it was kinda gross. Picture a TV ad for Slip 'n Slide, with the kids bellydown in the yard, sprays of water erupting on both sides as they hurtle down the stripe? That was pretty much me. I also had him in an arm triangle from top half, then I passed and tried to finish but just couldn't get the right angle. I did stay active and aggressive, really working that shoulder pressure, but my nogi is already weak plus the absence of any kind of grip for more than .5 second meant I was just sucking. So damn hot and still and humid, too... my gi pants were literally dripping when I sat down for a breather!

This morning I was all excited to take Max's class but another guy, a brown belt, taught instead, and I was bummed if only because it was super-basics grip breaks, whereas Max always shows a new approach to things and I know he'll move back to LA one of these weeks, so I want to soak up as much as I can right now. I did get in some grip break drilling with Doug, and then a roll with Phil. He caught me doing something stupid from top halfguard and snagged my trailing arm behind me-- I felt like a whitebelt. But then I passed his guard like ... like I can't think of how well it worked-- eventually got him all kinds of tight in side with potential for either armbar-- set it up and dropped it in, but wasn't keeping him from stacking me, so I ended up tapping to protect my neck. He complimented my halfguard pass which was also happy-making. Yay me :)

Training tonight. This weekend, Ian moves back to Singapore, so I am planning something for the guys at the academy to send him off in style. Hopefully we hear back about my husband's job interviews (yesterday and the day before) in the form of an offer on Friday, which would result in general levity and specifically sushi on Friday night. Saturday evening we go to San Antonio for a charity salsa event, then Sunday I have Girls in Gis-- a women only open mat in San Antonio, this time.

I'm super sleepy, might grab a power nap on the couch here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good! and Nice!

Yeah, that's right, more praise from Donald in the comp class, so I was over the moon!

Of course it didn't hurt that I was doing takedowns on the new blue girl-- my kuzushi looked all badass because she's so little and light. I had to scale back my uchi komis because I was taking her down accidentally. Now I have some new appreciation for what the bigger guys go through with me-- it's so easy to make whatever you're doing happen, and feeble resistance accomplishes nothing, and the determined frustration on her face every time she got up.. it was hard on us both. I tried to slow things down, give her a chance to grip fight, but Donald had a timer on us and threatened the whole class with 25 burpees anytime someone held a grip more than 10 seconds without throwing their partner. Sorry, new blue.

Then I was afraid of the universe and karma, because my next partner was Travis the Woodchipper. He's a tough purple, about 5'9" 160ish, who is called the Woodchipper because his guard just shreds people. Anyway, he went easy on me, just let me try (feebly) to take him down the whole time. I hurt myself on his razor-sharp shins but completely failed to alter his base whatsoever. My seoi nages suck-- still not pulling their leading arm hard enough or forward enough.

The rest of class was a Brazilian legs drill to maintain guard and a pass from that position, then a rolling loop choke I've seen from Jordan before, very similar to the one Max has been teaching.

Check out the Rickson story on Chris' blog Rolling Uphill. Chris is a third year law student and whitebelt under Dave Camarillo. I like how he thinks..

This morning it was pretty quiet-- just me, Ian, Travis, Doug and JT. Got a good roll in with JT who is a tall muscular blue belt-- couldn't pass his guard, got scissor swept because I totally forgot the techniques Dev posted yesterday, and got kimuraed. Next, I did pass, had a smashy side control/knee on belly, but while I was fiddling with grips for a baseball bat choke, I got muscled over (DAMMIT I hate that, but I'm stupid if I can't beat it) and later armbarred. Third time, I got a sweep from bottom half guard, took his back, and battled for a collar choke then a RNC then a four-finger while I had him in my body triangle. I was happy with my gripfighting, his defenses were excellent but I think I came close a couple times, but my foot went inside his belt somehow. I was baffled-- how come I can't jam my hooks deep and flatten him out? why won't my leg move? He was mostly flat and rolled a bit, making my ankle do something very strange, so I tapped and called it good.

Tonight, more kids' kajukenbo, then judo, then jiu jitsu. Mitch is in day two of interviews with a good company today, so hopefully by Friday or so we'll have something to celebrate!

I won't make this till the weekend, but it's good for celebration or company.

Pork Chops Stuffed with Smoked Gouda and Bacon

* 2 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
* 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
* 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 2 (2 1/4 inch thick) center-cut, bone-in pork chops
* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, bacon, parsley, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
3. Lay the chop flat on cutting board, and with a sharp knife held parallel to the board, cut a pocket into the pork, going all the way to the bone, but leaving the sides intact. Stuff cheese mixture into pocket, and close with a wooden toothpick. Brush meat with oil, and season with salt and more black pepper.
4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until pork is done. Careful not to overcook!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jumping guard.

Well, I finally did it. I took two days off training. Sunday my husband needed help with some yard work (though I admit I was not very gracious about it in my mind, I'm hoping I hid it well.) Yesterday, I wanted to train in the morning, but no one with a key was available to let us in. Was going to train at lunch, but something came up.. and needed to pick up some medicine for our reef tank in the evening.

How was it? It bloody sucked.

I was really happy for morning class today. Max taught-- some of the same techniques he showed last week on an informal basis. Some jumping guard ideas, some sweeps. All good and useful stuff.

Poor Scott, a big blue belt, broke his nose on Kirk's head during a timing drill. Bled like a stuck pig, too, so he left in the middle and took his 130 lb son (my perfectly-sized training partner) with him.



He has to get surgery on Monday! Said he spent a long time in the doctor's office and has broken bones and a smashed septum. Ouch.

We have a new girl in the school too, who just moved from Ohio. She's a 4 stripe blue, but she's TINY (weighs 30 lbs less than me!) and not strong. I feel like I could break her in half like a twig if I wanted. When she jumps guard on me it's like having a toddler hop into my arms :) So, I tentatively tried once to half-hop, half-lift my leg onto/around her and she staggered like I was made of lead. I felt too guilty to continue so I just waited till Phil was free, and then tackled him repeatedly. I'm uncoordinated enough to have problems jumping guard and immediately transitioning to X guard, so I tried to work on that a bunch.

Did get some good rolls in with Phil after class. He's so generous with trying to teach me how to beat him. I never remember all the details (and ha, it's not like there were so many!) but he's patient so it's all good.

Donald's competition class tonight, and I'm already sleepy...

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Good times.

We've enjoyed having our niece Sarah visit us since last Wednesday. Thursday we saw Inception, ate lunch, and hung out in the pool...



On Friday, she went with my husband to his class at the university, then posed in front of the Tower.



Then later they went bowling at the Student Union.



Yesterday Sarah helped me make these buttermilk spice muffins for breakfast.



I wouldn't say I enjoyed watching Silva's fight, but at least the ending was acceptable for me. I know he's a dick, but he's better than the Republican he fought. And today's my birthday.

I can't believe I've lived in this house for three years and hadn't yet thought of sitting in this tree for a photo op.





My godmother (mom's best friend Karen) sent me these lovely roses.



Of course, Mitch knows the way to my heart-- another book in the Beneville guard series :) He also washed my car for me yesterday, and tonight we're going out for dinner with a bunch of friends.



Good times, good times. :)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday night fights.

Or, at least, open mat.

I need to get better takedowns in nogi. Today I was limited to armdrags, thoughts of Russians, and attempted duckunders (my neck is still tweaked so no shooting.)

I need to review my kesa escapes.. only the fact that Jason is around my size saved me.

I need Glen to show me the Relson-halfguard-pass counters again.

Lunchtime open mat, and hair is on the menu.

I really enjoyed open mat today.

First I rolled with a total sweetheart bear of a man. He's big, muscular, tattooed and bearded, but with a very gentle demeanor. I always want to call him Grizzly Adams (yes, I'm dating myself with that reference.) So anyway, I'm in a quandary when I roll with him. I'm trying to play guard as much as I can against whitebelts, reserving my stronger top game for the higher belts. But crap, Grizzly's really technical and strong for a whitebelt, so I have this brainfart moment at the start of all my rolls with him. Today was no exception- my mind said "take top!" but my body pulled guard whilst trying for a looping choke. As a result, I was soon passed and fighting to regain guard. I suppose that's a good thing for me to practice as well.

Thinking of how Dev does things, I did also explore a turtle-heavy strategy, which was good because Grizzly wasn't making any headway cracking me or getting hooks in, but sucked because I was having a hard time rolling back to guard. Grizzly did a fantastic job of looking for transitional attacks, working hard for my arms and being really hard to sweep from bottom half. It was a great 15 minutes or so of me fighting from halfguard, guard, and turtle; excellent for cardio, but soooooo bad for my hair, which escaped the little balled-up ponytail bun and spread out on the mat around my head like cotton candy... unfortunately, Grizzly kneeled on it and handily pinned my head in place. Eventually, I moved, or he moved, and an enormous chunk of hair was torn out (like, several hundred strands.) It sucked. Anyway, eventually he kimuraed me, and I moved on :)

Second batch of rolls were with Zade, a heavy bluebelt who wanted to go nogi. I tried really hard to be aggressive and creative with my passing especially. Need an answer to the hand around the ankle when I'm doing a standing pass... the tack Ian takes (kicking the leg sideways towards the opening of their fingers) wasn't working for me. I did pass twice, though I got butterfly swept more than that. Since we were nogi, I did attempt the monson from north-south, but I think my body is too far up on their chest because people are rolling me a LOT from there.

Third, I rolled with Joe, a monstrously strong blue with the grips of a steelworker (because he is, in fact, a steelworker) that I've never rolled with before. I know he loves gi chokes from the guard, so I was leery of getting into his guard. Again, wtf, this translated to me kind of pulling guard... why I don't know. He's longer and stronger, and my guard is lame, but I still struggled to control him with my spider guard, failing mostly. Passed, again. Didn't get submitted, if I'm remembering correctly, and I got one sweep, but I think he got bored of having the unescapable side control, because at one point he just stopped, said he'd get a drink of water, and then we simply didn't start rolling again. So I went sniffing around for crumbs from others. Ended up playing again with my buddy Zack.

Zack's a big whitebelt, but he's losing weight and gaining in technicality and aggressiveness every time I see him. We were both pretty pooped, which was good I think. We started from feet and I made every possible effort to get the judo footsweep I was working with Donald and Spencer. He tried for an uchi mata but I countered it. Didn't really succeed in doing anything but convincing him to drop to his back, and I almost did the sweet pass-to-knee-on-belly from last night, but he was waiting for me and caught first just my head, then my arm, in a rear-facing triangle. He said he was wanting to get the same thing I got on Moss last night (just holding so you can attack the free arm) but I did some nifty kneeling business and pinned his near arm, extracted my head, and controlled from the side. Resisted his mighty reversal attempts, got sucked into halfguard, and battled to pass it. FINALLY passed to kesa, and as soon as I solidified position, I called it quits from sheer fatigue.

Tonight, maybe an hour of open mat, maybe just getting work done in the office. Then grilling some dinner with my niece, and I think Monopoly is on the agenda. Or maybe making these cinnamon-sugar doughnuts...

Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Doughnuts
From 101 Cookbooks. Makes about two dozen doughnuts.

* 1 ⅓ cups warm milk, 95°F – 105°F
* 1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
* 2 tablespoons butter
* ⅔ cup sugar
* 2 eggs
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* A pinch or two of nutmeg, freshly grated
* 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
* ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
* 1 ½ cups sugar
* 1 tablespoon cinnamon

1. Place ⅓ cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and set aside for 5 minutes or so. Be sure your milk isn’t too hot or it will kill the yeast. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture.
2. With a fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt — just until the flour is incorporated. With the dough hook attachment of your mixer beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. If your dough is overly sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add more milk a bit at a time. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth. Turn it out onto a floured counter-top, knead a few times (the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.
3. Transfer the dough to a buttered (or oiled) bowl, cover, put in a warm place (I turn on the oven at this point and set the bowl on top), and let rise for an hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
4. Punch down the dough and roll it out ½-inch thick on your floured countertop. Use a 2-3 inch cookie cutter to stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. If you cut the inner holes out any earlier, they become distorted when you attempt to move them. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.
5. Bake in a 375°F oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes — start checking around 8. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
6. Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and a quick toss in the sugar bowl. Eat immediately if not sooner.

Peach brown betty.

Can you tell we're in peach season here in Texas?

Peach Brown Betty

Serves 6

You can substitute 3 pounds of thawed and drained frozen sliced peaches for fresh peaches. if you don't own an oven-safe skillet, transfer the peach filling to a 2-quart baking dish at the end of step 2 and continue with the recipe as directed.

TOPPING
4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

PEACH FILLING
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Pulse bread and butter in food processor until coarsely ground. Set aside. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.

2. Melt butter in large nonstick oven safe skillet over medium-high heat. Cook peaches, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, 8 to 12 minutes. Off heat, stir in 1 cup crumb mixture, sugars, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt.

3. Top peach mixture with remaining crumbs. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake until topping is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Busy busy day

First, yesterday my niece Sarah arrived and I met her and my husband for dinner at Hut's Hamburgers after class. She's 12, with long brown hair and adorable freckles, and she gets to spend a week with us every summer. I love having her around. Class last night was -- meh. I wanted to do judo with Spencer after the kids' class I help with, but for various reasons it wasn't good timing, so he and I watched the technique portion of class from our perch on a heavy bag. I jumped in for positional sparring, but he scooted. I did work enough to break a solid, drippy sweat, so I was quite famished by the time I got to Hut's. Wednesday is 2 for 1 night, so I wolfed one and a half Ritchie Valens. Yes, all the burgers have cool names and the Ritchie is phenomenal: wheat bun, 1/3 lb burger, grated cheddar, chopped onion, jalapenos, tomatoes, guacamole and mustard. Hea-ven with a chocolate shake chaser (I had 4 big gulps only.)

This morning class was not as expected, but I did get some uber quality drilling and feedback from Max. He taught me how to really loft people with my butterfly, then convert to X guard and thence into a bellydown ankle lock or whatever kind of sweeps you want. I love him. So sad when he goes back to LA!

I did, however, present buttermilk biscuits with honey butter to the gang, as promised. I got called the gym mom for my troubles, but oh well, as long as I don't LOOK like a mom.

Got a bad migraine and had to call in sick for work. Eventually got over the migraine and took Sarah to the Alamo Drafthouse for lunch and "Inception." Wow, that was a REALLY entertaining movie (and it has jits in it! doubleplus good!) and it made me want to ask my concept art friend how they did certain things in the film.

After, hung out in the pool with Sarah... made guacamole... brought Sarah to class and got my butt beat. Pillow chokes, dropdown armbars, and flying triangles, then a single leg counter. Then, the rolls. Got one blue with a messy and sloppy looping choke and a pure-fatigue tap. Got a big technical whitebelt with... oh wait, dammit that's the guy who got ME. I did some things really right with him like pass to knee on belly-- but it was on the "wrong" side so I took so long thinking of the mirror image grips to set up the baseball bat choke, it let him escape. Eventually he got me with an americana from mount, some kind of choke, and then I tapped from pure fatigue (embarrassing because I was in TOP SIDE CONTROL. What did I have to be tired from!?) Generally though I am happier with my guard which is still like a whitebelt's anywhere else.

Came home to grilled brined chicken and tater salad and green beans with cantaloupe for dessert.

I am so sleepy right now my eyes are crossing involuntarily, so it's a good sign I need to go to bed. Catch you on the flipside, tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Why women (and men) should train Brazilian jiu jitsu.

I think there's a great case to be made for why women should train in Brazilian jiu jitsu. I proselytize the great gospel of jiu jitsu all the time, everywhere, to most everyone I meet. (I do a lot of grocery shopping in gi pants and an academy tshirt, so it seems like I get at least one or two inquiries a week about BJJ that way.) But I don't often blog about it, because it seems like you're the choir, right?

However, if you know some ladies who might be on the fence about it, if there's someone you're trying to convince, here's what I would tell them (in a slightly-longer-than-produce-aisle argument.) Of course, this applies to men too!

1. Self defense. I have to chuckle, because when guys talk about "fights always go to the ground" and "if someone jumps you in a bar" and whatnot, I wonder what bars they're going to and what they're doing that gets them into these fights. But seriously, 1 in 6 women (and 1 in 33 men) will be sexually assaulted in the United States. Every 2 minutes someone in the US is sexually assaulted. There's a couple sub-arguments to be made here. One is, of course, Brazilian jiu jitsu is famous for offering an enormous variety of self defense techniques for almost any kind of situation, from being bearhugged and dragged away, to wrist grabs, to knifepoint attacks. No brainer. Another is, even "non-self-defense" or more purely sport jiu jitsu type moves (like sweeps and subs from guard) make perfect sense in a sexual assault context. Third, more preventative in focus, training in BJJ will make you walk and project yourself like the strongest, fastest gazelle in the herd so the tiger will choose another victim.

2. Healthy exercise and living. BJJ tests your strength, flexibility, and cardio like nobody's business. Anyone on the spectrum from fat, soft office slug to superfit Venus Williams will be able to adjust their level of participation in their first classes to a) last the whole class without dying, and b) still challenge themselves physically. That said, you will see amazing gains (and losses!) because jiu jitsu is fun.

We all hear the statistics on needing 30-60 min of vigorous activity 5 times a week for optimal health. Most people sign up for a gym and get bored, fail to change their habits, etc. The gym membership is pointless if you're not motivated. BJJ motivates you in the immediate sense ("I need to move or I will get choked!") and the short term sense ("I will stretch as much as I can during warmups so class is more comfortable").. and you'll be motivated in the long term sense. "I'm going to quit smoking." "I'm going to eat some extra protein and skip the ice cream." "I'm going to start working my core muscles more so I have better sweeps."

3. It changes the way you view your body. The corollary to number 2 is that you'll start seeing your body as this wonderful, "fearfully made" machine capable of amazing feats. This was a big one for me-- instead of seeing the number on the scale as the ultimate issue (and lower was always better) I started to see my body as a powerhouse with the ability to endure and move and sweep and smash, quite honestly. I stopped caring quite as much whether I ever saw my high school weight again and started caring more about my body fat percentage, my strength relative to my height, my flexibility, etc. I started to see that weighing 130 or even 140 wasn't "bad" and was still plenty smaller than most of my training partners. That 130 was tiny in comparison to even a 160 lb guy, and I occasionally wished to weigh MORE so I could be more effective. (Of course I've since learned it's not WHAT you weigh but WHERE you put it on them. But anyway.)

Ironically, though I weigh maybe 10 lbs more than I did a year ago (though 15 lbs less than when I started jits!) my clothing went down some sizes, it fits more loosely and my body fat percentage has gone down a couple points. My arms have distinct curves of bicep, tricep and delt muscles.. my quads and abs are super strong, and I can train for a couple hours a day, seven days a week without breaking down. I'm not perfect but I'm better, and if I had to go to a regular gym I probably couldn't bear more than an hour a day if that.

Another point to make is that you probably will end up simplifying your beauty routine if you really get into the sport. Frequent showers, messed up hair, and general encroachment on your day's hours can make you into more of a natural beauty. This is good, imho: you'll use fewer petrochemicals, create less waste, spend less money on products, and spend less time primping and more out there doing.

4. You'll be unique. This is a biggie for me. I like to do things that are unusual, off the beaten path. Not a whole lot of women in jiu jitsu, though it's changing gradually. This means you will probably get more willing assistance from others who are eager to help you. You'll have something far more interesting to talk about at cocktail parties-- as opposed to your garden, your tennis game, or the latest novel you're reading. (No offense to tennis players, and I love gardening, and novels... but really? doesn't stir up near the intrigue as people thinking "wow, she chokes people.")

5. Ego balancing. I didn't really lack in self confidence to begin with (thanks Mom, thanks Dad, thanks debate through high school and college, thanks law school..) but now I have even more, yet I'm more humble, if that makes sense. I know I can take care of myself in most situations-- physically and spiritually. Jiu jitsu builds a body good and it rewards discipline, dedication, focus, patience, and humor. It takes the most arrogant badboys and reminds them there's always a badder boy (or girl) on the block... and it gives the most demure, delicate flowers a stem of steel. Mostly girls don't have the overweening ego problems of the Tapout/Affliction crowd-- but there's nothing like the smile on the face of a young girl who was hesitant and iffy when she discovers that these techniques work against someone bigger and stronger than herself.

6. What a good group of people! For sure you can find good people anywhere in any activity, but I think jiu jitsu brings together such a varied crowd from so many walks of life, all of whom are dedicated to building each other up. It is an individual sport, but rising tides lift all boats and you'll be surrounded by teammates who actively want you to get better (because then they're forced to get better!) You'll have a more or less tightly knit crew outside of the academy, depending on your particular community's flavor, but when you need them, they're there. And to say nothing of the great people all around the world who foster the activity by their internet presence. I have learned so much from people like Seymour, Liam, Can, Matt, Elyse, Leslie, Cane, Chrissy, Michael, Jonathan, Dustin, Dev... never would have met them but for jits!

7. Fosters creativity: Unlike other martial arts, there's no one right way to do things, and there isn't a list of techniques you "have to" be good at to progress and be successful. Jiu jitsu acknowledges that everyone has a different shape, size, attitude and philosophy. Yes, true, you really do have to understand some fundamental basics, but beyond that, you will develop your own game according to your strengths and weaknesses. It's pretty much an infinitely variable thing. A corollary to this is that jiu jitsu meets needs at all levels of the Maslow hierarchy... physiological needs, safety, sociality, creativity, self-actualization. It helps you stay healthy, feel loved, mentally stimulated, and if you're lucky you'll create a move that's known by your name even after you're gone. Even if that's not the case, you can aspire to having interactions with others that permanently affect their worldview for the better. It's a win-win.

So that's the longer version of my sermon. Feel free to share if you know a gal who might think about getting into it. And then tell her to read Leslie's great blog BJJGrrl, especially the section on women in BJJ.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Crumble.

Tonight there's going to be some promotions at the academy, plus competition class. It's only 94 outside instead of the predicted 103 so I'm looking forward to working hard and maybe gauntletting some people. Trained this morning with the newly-returned Ian, who went to Brazil a month ago as a bad-ass blue belt. Um, yeah, he's even more bad ass now. I steered clear and didn't even attempt the summit. Was drilling uke for Phil on his omoplata-triangle-armbar-omoplata sweep series... walked through Max's situp guard passes a smidge, and then just settled down to roll with Sean, who is gearing up for competition season this fall.

I like rolling with him, he never feels like he goes easy on me (not that I would complain if he did) and still I feel like I'm on the cusp of kicking his ass. It's like the damn greyhounds at the track-- his fat sassy cottontail was riiiiight there most of the time. At one point, I did get to a very tight, mean cross side, but I went for the far arm instead of the near, and eventually let him get to his side. Monson didn't work from north-south, and then the rest of it crumbled as I got rolled there. I honestly ended up tapping from his killer pressure on top side.

Speaking of crumble.. peach crumble, to be exact.



Filling
3 1/2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (6 to 7 medium), peeled and pitted; each peach halved and cut into 3/4-inch wedges (about 6 1/2 cups prepared peaches)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
1 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
3-5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon (to taste depending on sweetness of your peaches)
Pinch table salt
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg

Topping
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (1 3/4 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark), 1 3/4 ounces
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and very soft
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1. Adjust oven racks to lower and middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. FOR THE FILLING: Gently toss peaches and sugar together in large bowl; let stand for 30 minutes, tossing several times. Drain peaches in colander set over large bowl. Whisk 1/4 cup drained peach juice, cornstarch, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in small bowl; discard excess peach juice. Toss juice mixture with peaches and transfer to 8-inch-square glass baking dish.

3. FOR THE TOPPING: While peaches are macerating, combine flour, sugars (reserving 1 tablespoon granulated sugar), and salt in workbowl of food processor; drizzle vanilla over top. Pulse to combine mixture, about five 1-second pulses. Add butter and half of nuts; process until mixture clumps together into large, crumbly balls, about 30 seconds, pausing halfway through to scrape down sides of workbowl. Sprinkle remaining nuts over mixture and combine with two quick pulses. Transfer mixture to parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into even layer (mixture should break up into roughly 1/2-inch chunks with some smaller, loose bits). Bake on middle rack until chunks are lightly browned and firm, 18 to 22 minutes.

4. TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Grasping edges of parchment paper, slide topping over peaches and spread into even layer with spatula, packing down lightly and breaking up any very large pieces. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon sugar over top and place on lower oven rack. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake until well browned and fruit is bubbling around edges, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack until warm, at least 15 minutes; serve.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Miscellany.

First, this article about a university student who accidentally killed another while breaking up a fight by holding him in a choke hold.

Second, Leo Vieira v. Yuki Nakai... yummy cartwheel passes, thanks Vidush! LOOK at the guard pass starting around 2:45...



Third, open mat today rocked, thanks Phil, Rudy and Max... the sideways guard jump and the entry into the pendulum series. And interesting, seeing the same rolling choke he's shown but done from the bottom, as a sweep to the top.

Pretty, pretty, pretty.

I have more work than I know what to do with.. and my training partners bailed on me this morning. So I came in early and got cracking. For a little break, I'm returning to my salsa roots.

More fun with Magna..



A classic, not just demonstrating phenomenal skills as dancers but also revealing some of their personalities-- Kimberli Flores and Juan Matos:



Sometimes I miss salsa dancing, mainly when I'm watching videos like these. I think training jiu jitsu has probably made my dancing better-- better base, body awareness, control.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Summer bliss.

There's something just phenomenal about summertime! The buzzing cicadas, the feel of hot sun pouring over my head like warm honey, the smell of freshly-cut lawns and the chlorine of pools and the cold juicy cracking sound and scent of watermelon being cut open... And of course, here in central Texas, we're famous for our Fredericksburg peaches.



My mom had an amazing peach tree in our yard in the Chicago suburbs, and I loved the feel of the fuzzy warm skin, round and full in my hand. If you grab both sides of a really ripe peach and twist, it will split wide open in your hands. The juice runs down your fingers and wrists and chin... :) Good stuff!

Anyway, the happy hedonism of summertime was on my mind both to and from jits this morning. Just gorgeous weather, the world smelled good, I was feeling unhurt and unsore, the wind rushing up my nose... I was in a perfect mood to roll. No one was warming up when I arrived, so I jumped on one of the blues who is closer to my size and got some action. I tried for a side tomoe nage and instead pulled him into a seated headbutt-- ergh. I am working on my guard passing, staying light on my feet, posting on head and shoulder and changing directions with more speed and agility, and it seemed to help. Once to side or north-south, though, he was really hard to manage, and kept disrupting my sub attempts. At one point from guard, he sat back and I came up on top, virtually standing on him, and should have grabbed the standing armbar, but was giddy and flubbed it. Oh well. Twice I gave up my back instead of the pass, managed to escape the back twice too (once by ankle locking his body triangle, yay.)

Then another blue belt pal came by and made my life even more difficult than the last one. His side control is mean and I have a hard time passing his inverted guard. I did get his back though. I was really pleased with my patience and control-- he'd strip a hook, we'd go to the other side, I'd creep up and feed my bottom foot in by his hip where his elbow didn't completely cover the gap then roll him over again. Rinse, repeat. Meanwhile methodically trying to improve my grips in his collar. When I was a baby/toddler, I had this yellow blankie edged in the smoothest satin. I loved running it through my fingers in this rhythmic way, crawling the binding through my hand.



Well, that same motion is just the ticket for creepycrawlering my grips higher when I don't have a separate hand free to manage the lapel. I went from a seatbelt grip with the underhook arm in the lapel, to a cross-collary kind of choke, and then to a four-finger forearm choke. He defended everything so well that my grips were just hating my guts at the end. I did have my forearm under his chin, I think, and I was extending hips forward, burrowing my forehead into the back of his skull, trying everything I knew to get every last fraction of an inch, but it wasn't enough and I tapped myself with the pain in my hands and arms.

A purple belt friend came by and had some useful advice for us both. When someone's passing your halfguard facing your feet, you have to manipulate their center of gravity by manipulating their head position. When they are too far to one side or the other, poof, you reverse them. This was great in theory, but in practice, more difficult. And then I broke my neck.

Ok, ok, not really, but I felt absolutely TERRIFIED that I had. So I was being uke, on top halfguard, curled like a shrimp and facing the feet. Picture the little lesser-than symbol... < ... so if their head is to the left and feet to the right, my body is the bottom part of the symbol and my head the upper part. As they rolled, my head got stuck on the mat because I was too dumb to tuck my chin, and my body kept coming up and forward and around because it was connected to their body. The hinge was my neck. I felt this enormous crack (crackcrackcrackcrack) and a pain down the middle of my shoulderblades and I tapped halfway through with this gargly gargoyle sound. Two seconds later I could tell I was fine but those were a LONG two seconds. My upper back and neck are still tweaky but I'm fine.

Anyway...

Then he and I spent some time working on the combination of, or the transition process from, X guard, to deep half, to butterfly. I hope it helped him to walk through the rationales for entering in different ways at various times. It was helpful for me, but again I need to see things a number of times before it sinks in. I have a rudimentary, kindergarten understanding of each guard (the same way I have a rudimentary kindergarten understanding of surgery- you cut, you sew) and am looking forward to developing those aspects of my game. We sat down and watched my Pan footage again (cringe) and I'm happy to see that at least in my mind I've come a long way since April. That's not too bad, just 4 months, and I feel like I have a third-grader grasp of passing now.

Somewhat randomly, we paused our discussion to review some salsa basics and the difference in timing between on1 and on2. I am always happy to be able to share something in return for all the help I'm given. Here's some pretty to enjoy: my dear friends Magna and Andres, social dancing at the Boston Salsa Congress back in 2006...



Back to jits-- we did discuss, throughout the drilling process, the differences in how girls (or at least I) learn jits versus how boys learn it. It's a topic I'll be delving into more deeply in an upcoming article for another publication. [In fact, I am committed to writing for three other publications, so when I know what article is coming out where, I will let you know.]

Anyhoo-- that took up the whole 3 hours of class. Came home, showered, ate some chicken fajitas, watered the plants on the deck, and ensconced on the couch. Mitch has study group for his upcoming exam so I'll be here, basking in the scent of my conditioner and the sliced peach in my bowl and the muted cicada noise from outside.