Friday, July 29, 2011

Orly Taitz messes with the wrong boss.

This is not a post about jiu jitsu. It's about lawyers and foolishness.

I practice mainly in federal court. Federal judges are famous for many things-- they're very smart, they're appointed for life (so it's a plum job and only the cream supposedly rises to the top) and they have high workloads of a broad variety of cases. They're notorious for holding to formalities often unseen in state courts, such as lawyers always standing to address the Court, and always doing so from the podium, not counsel's table. And they're famous for having no patience with fools.

For example-- possibly the most famous of all sharpish rebukes, referred to affectionately as the "Big Chief tablet" opinion... it's long, so if you are busy today, then just run along. But if you're procrastinating any work, trust me, this is funny even if you're not a lawyer (and thank goodness this wasn't written about MY work or YOURS!) Then there's some more poking-fun stuff about the Birthers, at the end. Carry on:


[In other words, David v. Goliath-- two big companies, presumably with in-house counsel, not some schmoes fresh out of law school.]


[No, I haven't yet practiced in front of this judge, but I do appear in SD-Galveston on occasion.]

2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8962 June 26, 2001, Decided June 27, 2001, Entered

DISPOSITION: Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment GRANTED.




Plaintiff brings this action for personal injuries sustained while working aboard the M/V CORONADO. Now before the Court is Defendant Phillips Petroleum Company's ("Phillips") Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is GRANTED.

[Bradshaw sued these companies for injuries while he worked on their boat. One of the companies, Phillips Petroleum, filed a motion to have the case kicked out. The court grants it.]

Plaintiff John W. Bradshaw claims that he was working as a Jones Act seaman aboard the M/V CORONADO on January 4, 1999. The CORONADO was not at sea on January 4, 1999, but instead sat docked at a Phillips' facility in Freeport, Texas. Plaintiff alleges that he "sustained injuries to his body in the course and scope of his employment." The injuries are said to have "occurred as a proximate result of the unsafe and unseaworthy condition of the tugboat CORONADO and its appurtenances while docked at the Phillips/Freeport Dock."

Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, which added Phillips as a Defendant, provides no further information about the manner in which he suffered injury. However, by way of his Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff now avers that "he was forced to climb on a piling or dolphin to leave the vessel at the time he was injured." This, in combination with Plaintiff's Complaint, represents the totality of the information available to the Court respecting the potential liability of Defendant Phillips.

. . .

Before proceeding further, the Court notes that this case involves two extremely likable lawyers, who have together delivered some of the most amateurish pleadings ever to cross the hallowed causeway into Galveston, an effort which leads the Court to surmise but one plausible explanation. Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact — complete with hats, handshakes and cryptic words — to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed. Whatever actually occurred, the Court is now faced with the daunting task of deciphering their submissions.

With Big Chief tablet readied, thick black pencil in hand, and a devil-may-care laugh in the face of death, life on the razor's edge sense of exhilaration, the Court begins.

. . .

Defendant begins the descent into Alice's Wonderland by submitting a Motion that relies upon only one legal authority. The Motion cites a Fifth Circuit case which stands for the whopping proposition that a federal court sitting in Texas applies the Texas statutes of limitations to certain state and federal law claims. That is all well and good — the Court is quite fond of the Erie doctrine; indeed there is talk of little else around both the Canal and this Court's water cooler. Defendant, however, does not even cite to Erie, but to a mere successor case, and further fails to even begin to analyze why the Court should approach the shores of Erie.

Finally, Defendant does not even provide a cite to its desired Texas limitation statute. A more bumbling approach is difficult to conceive — but wait folks. There's More!

Defendant submitted a Reply brief, on June 11, 2001, after the Court had already drafted, but not finalized, this Order. In a regretful effort to be thorough, the Court reviewed this submission. It too fails to cite to either the Texas statute of limitations or any Fifth Circuit cases discussing maritime law liability for Plaintiff's claims versus Phillips.

Plaintiff responds to this deft, yet minimalist analytical wizardry with an equally gossamer wisp of an argument, although Plaintiff does at least cite the federal limitations provision applicable to maritime tort claims. Naturally, Plaintiff also neglects to provide any analysis whatsoever of why his claim versus Defendant Phillips is a maritime action. Instead, Plaintiff "cites" to a single case from the Fourth Circuit.

Plaintiff's citation, however, points to a nonexistent Volume "1886" of the Federal Reporter Third Edition and neglects to provide a pinpoint citation for what, after being located, turned out to be a forty-page decision. Ultimately, to the Court's dismay after reviewing the opinion, it stands simply for the bombshell proposition that torts committed on navigable waters (in this case an alleged defamation committed by the controversial G. Gordon Liddy aboard a cruise ship at sea) require the application of general maritime rather than state tort law. See Wells v. Liddy, 186 F.3d 505, 524 (4th Cir. 1999) (What the ..)?!

The Court cannot even begin to comprehend why this case was selected for reference. It is almost as if Plaintiff's counsel chose the opinion by throwing long range darts at the Federal Reporter (remarkably enough hitting a nonexistent volume!). And though the Court often gives great heed to dicta from courts as far flung as those of Manitoba, it finds this case unpersuasive. There is nothing in Plaintiff's cited case about ingress or egress between a vessel and a dock, although counsel must have been thinking that Mr. Liddy must have had both ingress and egress from the cruise ship at some docking facility, before uttering his fateful words.

Further, as noted above, Plaintiff has submitted a Supplemental Opposition to Defendant's Motion. This Supplement is longer than Plaintiff's purported Response, cites more cases, several constituting binding authority from either the Fifth Circuit or the Supreme Court, and actually includes attachments which purport to be evidence. However, this is all that can be said positively for Plaintiff's Supplement, which does nothing to explain why, on the facts of this case, Plaintiff has an admiralty claim against Phillips (which probably makes some sense because Plaintiff doesn't).

Plaintiff seems to rely on the fact that he has pled Rule 9(h) and stated an admiralty claim versus the vessel and his employer to demonstrate that maritime law applies to Phillips. This bootstrapping argument does not work; Plaintiff must properly invoke admiralty law versus each Defendant discretely. Despite the continued shortcomings of Plaintiff's supplemental submission, the Court commends Plaintiff for his vastly improved choice of crayon — Brick Red is much easier on the eyes than Goldenrod, and stands out much better amidst the mustard splotched about Plaintiff's briefing. But at the end of the day, even if you put a calico dress on it and call it Florence, a pig is still a pig.

Now, alas, the Court must return to grownup land.
As vaguely alluded to by the parties, the issue in this case turns upon which law — state or maritime — applies to each of Plaintiff's potential claims versus Defendant Phillips. And despite Plaintiff's and Defendant's joint, heroic efforts to obscure it, the answer to this question is readily ascertained.

The Fifth Circuit has held that "absent a maritime status between the parties, a dock owner's duty to crew members of a vessel using thedock is defined by the application of state law, not maritime law. Specifically, maritime law does not impose a duty on the dock owner to provide a means of safe ingress or egress. Therefore, because maritime law does not create a duty on the part of Defendant Phillips vis-a-vis Plaintiff, any claim Plaintiff does have versus Phillips must necessarily arise under state law. Take heed and be suitably awed, oh boys and girls — the Court was able to state the issue and its resolution in one paragraph ... despite dozens of pages of gibberish from the parties to the contrary!

The Court, therefore ... applies the Texas statute of limitations. Texas has adopted a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. Plaintiff failed to file his action versus Defendant Phillips within that two-year time frame. Plaintiff has offered no justification, such as the discovery rule or other similar tolling doctrines, for this failure. Accordingly, Plaintiff's claims versus Defendant Phillips were not timely filed and are barred. Defendant
Phillips' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and Plaintiff's state law claims against Defendant Phillips are hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. A Final Judgment reflecting such will be entered in due course.


After this remarkably long walk on a short legal pier, having received no useful guidance whatever from either party, the Court has endeavored, primarily based upon its affection for both counsel, but also out of its own sense of morbid curiosity, to resolve what it perceived to be the legal issue presented. Despite the waste of perfectly good crayon seen in both parties' briefing (and the inexplicable odor of wet dog emanating from such) the Court believes it has satisfactorily resolved this matter. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

At this juncture, Plaintiff retains, albeit seemingly to his befuddlement and/or consternation, a maritime law cause of action versus his alleged Jones Act employer, Defendant Unity Marine Corporation, Inc. However, it is well known around these parts that Unity Marine's lawyer is equally likable and has been writing crisply in ink since the second grade. Some old-timers even spin yarns of an ability to type. The Court cannot speak to the veracity of such loose talk, but out of caution, the Court suggests that Plaintiff's lovable counsel had best upgrade to a nice shiny No. 2 pencil or at least sharpen what's left of the stubs of his crayons for what remains of this heart-stopping, spine-tingling action.

In either case, the Court cautions Plaintiff's counsel not to run with a sharpened writing utensil in hand — he could put his eye out.


DONE this 26th day of June, 2001, at Galveston, Texas.


Ouch. Ouchie-ouch-ouch.

With that in mind... these birthers. You'd think that Obama's release of his full length birth certificate would be the end of all that, and for most of them, it was, except for this loonytune lawyer named Orly Taitz. She can't seem to get it through her head that the federal rules require redaction of social security numbers from court documents. (They should show up like xxx-xx-1234.) She did it right once, and then afterwards, insists on doing the reverse: 123-45-xxxx.

If you're not already exhausted by vitriol against dumb lawyers, please do read her comeuppance here...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's why we're here.

Last night I did an hour-long seminar on self defense with Rhalan Gracie, Relson's son and a new blackbelt. It was awesome. He's a very good instructor, and it helps that I have a completely different perspective on self defense as compared with when I was new to jiu jitsu.

Then, I thought I would never need to worry about bar fights and being jumped in an alley. (I still think that if I am in a bar fight, I have obviously made many mistakes.) But now, no matter how unlikely I think this bar fight scenario might be, I am motivated to learn self defense for other reasons.

For one, to represent the truest expression of my art-- Helio designed this so the smaller, weaker person could SURVIVE. And by surviving, we win. As Rhalan put it last night-- this is for worst-case scenarios. Not the 50/50 where you're both standing, both ready and aware that it's about to be a fight, where you could (and maybe should) just run away to avoid the confrontation. No, it's about the 80/20, where there's an 80% chance he's going to beat your face in because he took you unawares, hit the back of your head, stunned you, and you're on the ground, mounted... and there's only a 20% chance you'll get up without teeth being knocked out of your head.

For another, because I really would like to be able to teach this someday, and how can you teach "just" sport jiu jitsu? How can you know that there are techniques which could save someone's life and not share them? I couldn't stand to walk around in a Gracie Jiu Jitsu tshirt and not be sure that I had a plan "just in case" some crazy girl swung at me for looking at her man. Or whatever.

So we covered blocking a haymaker punch and converting to a hip toss.. escaping mount.. escaping a two-handed choke... it was really useful stuff. And I was the dork who kept thinking to herself "Ha! This is all just ordinary jiu jitsu!" But really, except for the blocking the punches stuff, it IS just plain old jiu jitsu. Or, better-- jiu jitsu is just plain old self defense. It's about using their momentum against them and staying safe while gaining the dominant position. I love it!

FYI-- today's deal over at is an $80 Fuji summerweight gi. Go get one if you're anywhere near as hot as it is here (today's high, 101. A mere 90 now.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Attacks from side control

I hardly ever post (I think) about techniques any more, which is good, because that can get boring. But Christian (BJJ Globetrotter) posted today that he's back home on his mats again, so I started prowling around his site just a bit, refamiliarizing myself. And I came across his side control attack flow video which has some useful details for me, so I thought I'd write a little compare-and-contrast thing in the hopes that it crystallizes perspectives for me.

Here's his video, which I think is superbly done btw...

And his game plan:

My game plan is more like this (sorry, text only..)

Side control > nearside armbar or farside americana or bow and arrow choke.

See, this is why writing posts like this is a useful exercise. I know I've made SOME progress since whitebelt, since I KNOW I have reached these points in the past. When I was a whitebelt it was merely theoretical that this was possible.

But when I start thinking about what happens next and what do I do in response, it's like there are too many variables and I get distracted. I know I almost always do a slightly different side control than Christian shows (more like the Daniel Moraes one, less like the Relson one, much to my chagrin since I'm a Relson student.)

From there I spend a lot of time with both arms isolated and the majority of my control and focus on their upper body (which gets me in trouble since I don't control their hips so much.) With the nearside arm isolated, I go for nearside armbars (of the traditional kind, or of the straight, behind my armpit, sitting upright, using my knee kind) and from there I've ended up in kind of a lurchy "oh crap" kind of spider guard when they come up and stack me... (I see why Christian advocates the omoplata here. And then my training with Gene where he emphasized the omoplata comes to mind and the lightbulb goes on. Ding ding ding!)

I don't go for americanas too much on guys, they're usually too strong for me to catch the hand and keep it. I almost always get the farside underhook though, so if they pass the hand in front of my face I'll try for it. Usually wrapping their gi lapel around the far side arm helps tremendously with that (credit goes to Hillary Williams and Chris Gunn for that stuff.)

And while I'm messing around with the lapel, if I can, I'll reach under the head and back across the neck to the nearside lapel, using my head/face as a blindfold so they can't see the bow and arrow coming.

Good mental exercise. What attack flows (and from what position) do you prefer?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Fine, fine, I was attempting to justify reprinting the brownie recipe by calling attention to some health benefits. I admit it. I didn't make them though. (Though I did put together some chocolate chip cookies for my friends' Ammad and Stephanie's housewarming party on Saturday.)

I had my MRI last week and get the results soon. My knee still feels fine, my foot still is sore, and I am still doing a daily conditioning class at the gym. I'm training 3x a week to ease back into things, but I felt great on Friday. I hit our noon open mat after the conditioning class (as an aside: I was faced with a dilemma. Go straight from the gym to the academy, sweaty but not stinky, and change at the academy into a clean dry gi, rashie etc, and get 50 minutes of rolling in... or shower at the gym, change into the dry gi etc, and get 25 minutes of rolling... I chose to maximize mat time, on the theory that within 5 minutes I would be sweaty again, so why bother with the shower. I promise, I wasn't stinky, just sweaty. Your thoughts?)

Anyway I had some really fun rolls on Friday, first with a big technical whitebelt-who-is-really-more-like-a-bluebelt... he had a beautiful scarf hold with his arm wrapped all the way around my waist and under my hips and I couldn't get out for love or money. I had to wait for him to move and try to capitalize. He was also really good about looking for a cross collar choke from bottom half guard, so I was torn between wanting to finish the pass (meaning I couldn't fight his grips) or fighting his grips (and getting swept.) It was a beautiful conundrum that we worked through 3 separate times. The first time, I got the pass, he kept his grips, I went for the armbar and he reversed me, coming up into side control :( Second time, I got the armbar. Third time, he got the choke even though I got the pass, because he kept his arms low and his wrists near his hips. It was beautiful execution even though I was on the choke-end of the choke. :)

I also got to roll nogi with another friend who I love training with because he's always saying nice things about the people he rolls with. He makes you really feel good about yourself and how you roll... what more can you ask for? Plus I always need more practice at nogi. Especially because my friend Dagney, with whom I am staying during my trip to San Diego in November, is mentioning maybe going to watch Nogi Worlds if it happens to be that weekend. Well, you know how my brain works.. if it happens to be that weekend, maybe I might as well compete :) THAT would be a laugh-- I never train nogi, and I'm so out of my usual weight class... but what the hey...

Saturday I worked as a scorekeeper for a small local tournament put together by Lone Star BJJ Federation. I think it was the perfect size for a youth tournament (it was billed as the Youth State Championships, though it also had adult divisions, albeit lightly attended) or even as an adult's first tournament. They had 5 mats running at once, and the whole thing took about 4 hours start to finish. I like the people who put it on and was happy to help them out. I heard some complaints about the rules, which were a little unusual and therefore I think inconsistently applied by refs who were unfamiliar with them. For kids and teens, no pulling on the head at all; ie in triangles, you have to pull around the knee too. This meant that guillotines apparently caused some confusion-- one kid won with a guillotine, while on another mat a kid was made to let go of a guillotine. Anyway, a good way to spend a few hours, and I saw some talented kids and teens, too. Two young ladies (around 16 y/o I think) fought guys their age, and I was impressed.

Here's more recipes, some healthy, one not. :)

Summer Corn Chowder from Fine Cooking...
Serves 6 as a first course; 180 calories per serving.

5 ears fresh corn
~20 medium stalks of green onion (around 7 oz.)
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 jalapeño, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3-1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 large Yukon Gold potato (8 to 9 oz.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbs. heavy cream

Husk the corn and cut off the kernels. Reserve two of the corn cobs and discard the others. Trim and thinly slice the scallions, keeping the dark-green parts separate from the white and light-green parts.

Cook the bacon in a 3- or 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off and discard all but about 1 Tbsp. of the bacon fat. Return the pan to medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the white and light-green scallions and the jalapeño, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the scallions are very soft, about 3 min.

Add the broth, corn, corn cobs, potatoes, and thyme and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are completely tender, about 15 min. Discard the corn cobs.

Transfer 1 cup of the broth and vegetables to a blender and puree. Return the puree to the pot and stir in the cream and all but 1/3 cup of the scallion greens. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes to wilt the scallions and blend the flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve sprinkled with the bacon and reserved scallions.

Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Cupcakes with Honey-Cream Cheese Frosting, from Evan's blog Chocolate and Chaturangas

makes 20

for the cupcakes

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups bleached flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Zest of 3 lemons
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tbsp. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put paper cupcake liners in a 12-cup muffin pan. Toss the blueberries with 1 tbsp. flour. Beat the butter, lemon zest, and sugar for 5 minutes at medium speed until light and fluffy (be sure to do the entire 5 minutes – this makes a big difference!). Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping bowl and beaters between each to incorporate.

Sift flour with the baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add a quarter of the flour mixture to the butter-egg mixture. Then add vanilla and a third of the buttermilk. Repeat, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and scraping well after each addition. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Pour batter into prepared muffin pans. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool pans on a rack for 5 minutes. Turn cakes out and cool completely.

for the icing

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 stick softened butter
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup honey
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Large pinch of salt

In a mixer or a large bowl, combine the ingredients until completely smooth. It will be a bit runny, but that’s how it’s supposed to look (I prefer my icing creamy and on the runny side; add more confectioner’s sugar or less honey/lemon juice if you beg to differ). Ice the cooled cupcakes and top each with the prettiest blueberries you can find.

Lastly, for lunches at work... make up a big batch of quinoa or brown rice and keep in the fridge. Here's some variations for grain-based salads (good by themselves, or over greens, or in a lettuce wrap:

Half a can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced and quartered
1 pt cherry tomatoes, halved
black or kalamata olives, pitted and halved
fresh oregano to taste, chopped finely
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
vinaigrette salad dressing

Half a can of low-sodium black beans, rinsed
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup diced chicken breast, lean steak or shrimp (great use for dinner leftovers)
Dressing: light sour cream, fresh lime juice, two finely minced green onions and a dash of hot sauce

Fruit & Nut:
Handful dried cranberries
Handful walnuts
Handful sliced almonds
Sliced grapes
Dressing: apple cider vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and Dijon mustard

1/4 cup shelled edamame
Shredded carrots
1/2 cup chicken breast, lean steak or shrimp (great use for dinner leftovers)
1/2 avocado, diced
Dressing: Soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and a dash of chili oil or hot sauce

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good for your heart...

Dark chocolate brownies are not only full of fudgy goodness, they're packed with antioxidants that are good for your heart.

  • 1 2/3 cups dark chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 8-inch-square baking pan. Set aside 1/3 cup morsels.
  2. Heat 1 1/3 cups morsels, sugar, butter and water in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate and butter are melted. Pour into medium bowl. Stir in eggs, one at a time, with wire whisk until blended. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour and salt; stir till just combined. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup morsels and nuts. Pour into prepared baking pan.
  3. Bake for 38 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky/crumby. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 16 pieces.

Each brownie has just 138 calories, and better yet, I've read about the health benefits of dark chocolate.  (So if baking brownies seems like too much in this heat, you can just bite into some dark Callebaut if you like :)  )

Antioxidants and anti-aging

Many of the health benefits of dark chocolate are based around its various ingredients that fight free radicals and minimize the effects of aging. Free radical damage is linked to more than 100 conditions ranging from heart disease and arthritis to dementia and diabetes.

Cardiovascular health benefits

The protective effects of cocoa on the heart and vascular system are probably its most well-documented topic. Literally hundreds of studies have investigated the health benefits of dark chocolate and the cardiovascular system.

Brain health benefits

Like the heart and blood vessels, dark chocolate can protect the brain from conditions related to high blood pressure, clots and free radical damage.  Chocolate also affects the brain’s function, thereby affecting mental function, cognition and mood. One of the really good health benefits of dark chocolate!

Dark chocolate and diabetes

Both forms of diabetes are conditions that are linked to and exacerbate other major conditions. Numerous studies indicate that dark chocolate has a very favorable effect on blood sugar levels and the symptoms of diabetes. 

Health benefits for inflammation

A growing body of research associates chronic inflammation with a number of diseases ranging from heart disease and dementia to gastrointestinal disorders and diabetes. Fortunately, cocoa has been proven to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.

Dark chocolate and weight control

It’s not a secret that obesity is a huge and growing problem in the United States and other developed countries. Fortunately. cocoa appears to possess different properties that can reduce weight gain in the body. It may also have appetite suppressant properties.

Oral health benefits

There has long been a misconception that chocolate contributes to caries.  While it’s probably true that low-grade, refined sugar-laden chocolate certainly can contribute to decay, research suggests that dark chocolate actually helps fight tooth decay.

Climbing rope.

Thanks to Courtney, I finally can climb the rope (er, uh, once.. but it's a start!)  The secret is to wrap one leg around the rope, so that the rope comes around behind your calf and then in front of your instep.  Stand with your other foot on top of the rope (basically like standing on your own foot) and that gives you a "platform" to support your weight while you regrip higher on the rope.  Doing this, I was able to climb the rope where I'd never been able to in the past.  Granted, a long way away from what the boys do, with their legs never touching the rope-- but it seems we're doing rope climbs before the start of every morning class, so I will get some practice.  Durn rope peeled some skin off the instep and ankle bone, so I will wear socks next time.

Good class this morning-- armbar defenses by Kirk.  And then some rolls after, perfect intensity and speed and so on.  Never felt the slightest twinge in my knee, though my foot is still a little tender in the soft tissue.  I have an MRI scheduled for this afternoon to check my progress.

Thanks to Mike with for pointing this out, here's a Terere highlight for your viewing pleasure..

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm back!

Confession time: I went to my academy and trained this morning.  I have been testing my knee and foot and it just felt like everything was fine, and I really missed my routine.  I was supposed to wait till the end of July, and I have an MRI scheduled for the 29th that I'm moving up to this Thursday-- but I have been working out at my regular gym with no problems, sooooo......  To be honest, my knee has been fine for a while, but my foot is still not perfect.  It takes a while to heal I guess, and though the bone seems solid, there's still some soreness in the soft tissues, but I don't care really.  I just wanted to be rolling again.

Being a morning class, it was a balmy 78 degrees (instead of the 100+ temps we expect tonight) and for warmups we climbed rope, did some ginastica natural, pushups, and stretching.  It was a good class covering attacks from side control and some recounters to common counters.  I felt a little bit "off" getting my leg over my partner's face without thumping my heel into him, but it felt really good to be training again.  I did spar a bit too, first with a generous brown belt who gave enough resistance that I felt like I was really rolling, yet also dangled some bait out there and encouraged me when I took it.  Then I rolled with Bill, a blue belt who has a super super tight side control. I literally couldn't move when he got side on me.  We even started from feet, but I just dropped down to foot on hip guard and tried to play from there. 

All in all a good morning.  I am a little tired-- have had 4 of my cousins in town from Virginia since Friday and between doing fun touristy stuff with them, and some extra work for my real job, I feel like I am ready for a weekend and it's only Tuesday.  I have a deadline tomorrow, so hopefully it lets up a little bit soon.

I was intrigued when I read somewhere on the internet about a guy who wore a heartrate monitor and got a calorie count for his jiu jitsu training.  (It's on youtube but I'm too lazy to find it for you right now.)  So, I bought a Polar FT7 (I think?) and am testing it now.  It's got a chest strap with a snap-on transmitter and then you have the watch to wear on a wrist.  In my conditioning class, I arrived late both days, but it says I burned ~330 calories in ~25-30 minutes, so that's cool (if it's accurate.)  (It uses your heartrate, age, height, weight, and gender to calculate calorie burn-- not an accelerometer like a pedometer uses, so I thought it would work for jiu jitsu too.)  I wore the thing this morning for warmup and most of technique but the watch got in the way on my wrist, so I removed it.  I'm thinking maybe I can connect the watch around the strap of my athletic bra, and maybe that will not be in the way as much.  Anyway, in 90 minutes of light calisthenics and technique drilling I burned 298 calories.... not as many as I'd hoped :\

On other fronts, please check out Christian Graugart's new site and project, Give a Gi.  He's coordinating donations of gis, boxing gloves, punching mitts, etc etc. for people who can use them.  It's a beautiful inspiring project!  So please-- if you have some old gear, if you have a birthday around the corner and get some new "toys" or if you have a gi that doesn't fit-- donate it to a worthy cause!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Roy Dean's "Blue Belt Requirements" review

Roy Dean presents a really well-done survey of some basic techniques. I like that some instructors call them "high percentage" -- because sometimes people yearn for "advanced" stuff (aka low percentage) that may not apply in as many situations. The techniques from Mr. Dean here are called "basics" because they have a wide range of appropriate uses and so you will get a lot of mileage out of them. Also, I'm told many BJJ schools don't have belt tests, they just promote students based on their overall consistent performance. This amorphous kind of thing may frustrate or confuse you if you're like me, always wondering just what it is I'm expected to learn and do. This instructional in two DVDs is going to go a long way towards plugging the gaps.

General thoughts:
Echo-y audio/acoustics but still easy to understand everything he says. Contrasting gi colors make it easy to tell who does what, and numerous camera angles are very illuminating.

The DVD covers many of the most common BJJ techniques one would learn at any BJJ Academy. Mr. Dean explains very clearly and slowly what is going on in the technique, step by step, then he does it again at a faster and more realistic speed from four different camera angles.

He really focuses on helping students perceive both the journey from white to blue belt, and getting them into a good mindset to learn BJJ. Mr. Dean explains why he advises doing a technique a specific way (and includes some variants for good measure) instead of just telling you the "what."

Some of the techniques on the DVDs include escapes, sweeps, guard passing, submissions (numerous gi chokes, four different armlocks, and four leglocks), and takedowns. I really appreciated some discussion of basic skillsets (where and how to grab, positioning, etc), along with some discussion on breakfalls and some video demonstrations.

I must say I was afraid that his mount escape was shown with an entry into a heelhook but that might be my own bias against scary leglocks.

I especially liked that Mr. Dean explains that sweeps are more about perfectly conforming your body in the space you've created or your partner has given you, and then waiting for the right timing to be able to effect your technique. He also chains techniques together-- a scissor sweep into a popover choke, for example, or a knee push sweep into an armbar.

I love this set and hope you will too. You can buy it here on his site for $45.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hot, damn hot.

It's damm hot here in Austin. 100 degrees this very minute. And still, I'd rather be doing some jiu jitsu instead of sitting in my air conditioned kitchen. I'm back on track with daily conditioning class at the regular gym in lieu of lunch... my knee and foot seem to be fine. I want to pick up with the oly lifting again soon. And I'm honestly considering coming in for a couple classes and just doing technique. (Of course when I start looking at the stack of folded gis in the morning, or casually dropping a spare athletic bra and tshirt in my gym bag, my husband gets all suspicious and huffy. And even if I evade his watchful eye, I bet the people at my academy will notice if I come back and train. Red hair has its pitfalls.)

My inlaws are taking us on a week long cruise at the end of August, whoohooo. Cruises aren't really my ideal form of travel. However, free cruises are not to be sniffed at. I just fear the nonstop eating.

Before that, I have a hearing in El Paso to attend in early August. Nothing like a trip to El Paso in August to make a cruise ship sound appealing.

Hope your training is going well...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Missing it..

I do miss training. I miss the routine, the mental focus, physical exertion, the pre-class strategizing and post-roll analysis. I miss my friends most of all.. the camaraderie, the connection, the feeling of being at home in my second home.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Blackbelt number 29....

One of my favorite instructors and mentors in this wonderful sport is Josh Lauber. He's the instructor/owner of Relson Gracie San Antonio, and I'm lucky to call him my friend as well. Josh is a little guy, so he always has some useful tidbits to share with me about fighting bigger opponents. Not that I can't learn from long-limbed peeps as well-- but there's a certain amount of street cred when the advice is coming from someone who feels my pain.

Josh in the middle... Relson on the right, and Relson's son Rhalan on the left.

Josh focuses on old school, traditional, core basic techniques and the number one thing I hear from him when he corners me at tournaments is "Close your guard Georgette!" I love having him corner me because I can always hear his voice and he's always very encouraging. And-- he taught me my first sweep. (Not the first sweep I was taught... but the first sweep I truly incorporated and pulled off with regularity.)

Mike Calimbas of just did a really nice interview with Josh about getting his blackbelt from Relson. You should definitely check it out.

Congrats, Josh, on being Relson's blackbelt number 29!!! :) :)

Friday, July 01, 2011

I made it 2 weeks, 1 day.

I was supposed to fully rest for 6 weeks.

After a week, swimming and "light" walking allowed.

I'm sorry, but swimming, alone, in a small kidney-shaped backyard pool, is boring. (I think it would be boring in any shape or size of pool, to be honest.) So is "light walking." Even "hard" walking. I wasn't getting much out of that.

I have been fretting and worrying about losing all my cardio and strength. Since the Pan I put on about 15 pounds (I'm sure at least 5 due to excessive donut taste-testing in Southern California in the days immediately after losing 20-0, haha) and I can see a decided jiggle around my bellybutton. My arms look like crud, too. Despite this, I can't seem to motivate to swim for more than 15 minutes at a time. I lack DISCIPLINE. Obviously jiu jitsu is way more fun.

So, after two weeks and one day of nominal rest, I returned to my 'regular' gym for my conditioning class at noon today, in fear and trembling. Fortunately it wasn't so bad after all! I was ready to modify if necessary but it didn't come to that. I worked up a decent sweat, got the ol' heartrate up, and it felt AWESOME.

Which is good because my fabulous in-laws are taking me and hubs on a week-long Caribbean cruise at the end of August, to celebrate my mum-in-law's 78th birthday, and I am hoping to lose this "post-Pan" jiggle by then.

I'm sure losing 20 will be harder than losing 20-0, but I'd rather one than the other!

Hope you have a lovely weekend, whether you celebrate Independence Day or not... :)