Monday, July 30, 2012

Rickson's blue belt requirements

 Before I give you the goods... my little recap o' the weekend... it was HOT.  But I still did a fair bit of gardening, trimmed up my monster Danae antique rose which is easily six feet tall and at least ten feet across...  cleaned out the pool, cut up watermelon, watched the Olympics, and trained both days.  Sunday was particularly cool, for a hot day, because my facebook friend Derrick (who happens to be a BJJ black belt freshly returned to Austin) and his buddy Che (another BJJ bb, also a judo bb) were looking for a place to train and their school, Paragon, is closed on Sundays.  So they trekked all the way from Kyle TX (about 30-40 min) to our academy for some rolls.  That was very cool-- I'd forgotten all you Paragon peeps with your deep half tendencies! 

Meanwhile Paulo, our "new" bb, is settling in well at the start of his six-month trial here.  He looked like a monster on Sunday and I look forward to learning from him.  One of our teammates reported that Paulo got his bb on the same day, in the same ceremony, as Saulo Ribeiro and Cleber Luciano and a few other big names in the BJJ pantheon.  Daaang!

On other fronts, I am mildly disgruntled.  I had a positive home pregnancy test last night, but thankfully I refused to get all wildly gleeful about it, having been through these before.  (My husband was even more determinedly unenthusiastic than I was, which was mildly annoying because it turned out he was right.)  I took two more this morning (both negative) and the blood test came back..... negatory.  This means I had a bogus test last night, of course. The top one is last night (and that faint pink line to the left of the darker reddish-violet line is the "yes, you're knocked up" line.)  The bottom one is this morning (this would be the "you suck, test company" version.)

I just want to say, if you're a factory worker putting together these little strips of chemical-sensitive paper and whatnot... damn you to hell for falling asleep on the job, you know?  Agreed, it's better for you to fuck up a pregnancy test than, say, a safety switch on a hand grenade or the brake assembly on a school bus... but still.  I really didn't want it to be a fake positive.

Now I'm kind of laughing at the BJJ people who are thinking "where's my Rickson blue belt requirements?" and also at the people saying "I don't see a second line!  Lady is crazy!"  Well-- now you know.  When it comes to pregnancy tests, any second line is a positive, no matter how faint.  And... here's the Rickson.

Southern Jiu Jitsu put together a mindmap of Rickson's blue belt requirements.  There are links to youtube videos of each technique.  I only looked at the first three-- #1 is by Submissions101 (you may be familiar with the controversies surrounding their competence; some techniques are reputedly poorly done.  I didn't watch this video so I have no opinion.)... #2 is by Jason Scully, a well-known blackbelt.  Again I didn't watch the video so no opinion.  #3 is in Japanese, and again, I didn't watch it, no opinion.

Henry, if you're out there reading, mind commenting on whether this is really what Rickson wanted from blue belts?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Magic homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker!

Makes 1 quart ice cream

8 ounces strawberries, hulled (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 ounce white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vodka
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled

You can use 6 ounces of thawed, frozen berries in place of fresh ones and bar white chocolate in place of the chips—chop it finely before melting it. If you plan to store the ice cream for more than a few days, place plastic wrap directly on its surface.

1. Process strawberries in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds (puree should measure about ¾ cup). Microwave sweetened condensed milk, white chocolate chips, and vodka in large bowl until chocolate melts, about 1 minute, whisking halfway through cooking. Whisk in strawberry puree, vanilla, and salt.

2. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Whisk one-third of whipped cream into strawberry mixture, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream, 1 scoop at a time, until combined. Freeze in airtight container until firm, 6 hours or up to 2 weeks. Serve.

from Cook's Country magazine.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Squee of the day

Can't help it-- ran across this picture randomly and it inspired a new feature.  When I find something this cute, I'll share it.

Stay hydrated!

We have a new blackbelt at our academy.  Not exactly true-- he's been a blackbelt over seventeen years! but he's new to us.  Paulo Brandao "Coelho" just came here from Manaus and he was teaching at his academy there for years.  He finished second to Royler in several of the big World Championships and we're honored to have him here for a few months (and maybe for good).

Here's Terere v. Paulo Coelho at the 2001 Mundials-- he loses on points but that's impressive against Terere!

Classes have been physically grueling for me lately.  It's the heat and humidity, for sure.  We'll do an hour or two of technique (depending what day of the week it is) and then sometimes an hour to 90 minutes of sparring afterwards.  Because classes are at night, we tend to shut the big garage doors to keep the mosquitoes out, and when I leave at 10:30pm, it's a shock to discover how much cooler it is outdoors.  I have no problems keeping up during technique, but sometimes, in the fourth or fifth 5-minute round of the night, I find being on the bad side of mount to be so restful, it's hard to motivate to escape.  (Until they start choking me, that is.)

I usually just bring a 32-ounce water jug to class and refill it at the cooler.  Normally I'm not big on water, it's too plain, but during and after one of our classes, I don't care if it's even cold, I'm just in love with water.

At other times though, I'd rather drink lemonade (with splenda) or club soda (I love fizz).  I don't usually care for fruit juice (it's just sugar water) and I'm dairy free, so there goes milk. Try this Watermelon-Basil Water for a change!  Watermelon is very healthy-- more lycopene than tomatoes, and it's rich in vitamin C and minerals like magnesium and potassium.

1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 cup boiling water
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon (1 lb.)
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
Put the basil leaves and sugar in a small pot and crush the leaves with a wooden spoon. Pour in the boiling water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to steep and cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, purée the watermelon with 2 cups cold water. Strain the watermelon liquid and basil liquid through a fine strainer into a large bowl; discard the solids. Pour the liquid into a large pitcher. Add the lime juice and 2 cups cold water; stir to combine. Serve over ice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Maybe if we just relax? Are you effing kidding me???

I can't tell you how many times someone has told me "Just relax, you'll get pregnant." 

I wish that were true.  Sadly, it's not. I'm so tired of my own complaints and negativity and there just isn't any progress, frankly.  And relaxing won't help my chromosomally abnormal eggs, or my overactive immune system, which together seem diabolically determined to prevent me from procreating.

For the record, we're giving IVF another try.  Different doctor, different medication protocol, and new test results gave us some new ideas on what might be going on with me.  My husband is very patient and I'm grateful again that he lived frugally and carefully before we met, so that this is financially possible for us.  We'll try again in August and I'll keep you posted.

It is a hard thing to address with people.  I want to talk about it a lot. It is THE thing going on in my life right now. It consumes me. It ranks right up there with jiu jitsu (in fact, jiu jitsu is my only escape from the barren wilderness of infertility.  It's the only time I am not thinking about how much I want to be pregnant.)  My thoughts and my plans and my entire life revolve around making a baby right now. And a lot of times, I need to vent and I have trouble doing that because people don't know what to say, and sometimes they say or do the complete wrong thing (on accident) and more often they just don't say anything at all, and I don't want to force them to talk about something uncomfortable.

I get that IVF and all of infertility is confusing.  It's a lot to remember and it's a lot to absorb, and I've had months and months of research and learning to get it all straight. I've earned my Google M.D.  But I do get so discouraged when people, especially those people very close to me, don't ask me what I'm going through.

So here's a primer on dealing with people in your life who may be having trouble getting pregnant, from my point of view at the moment.

1.  Do not call them up and crow in their ear "I don't know how your babymaking is going, but we just found out we got pregnant without even trying!"  You might just be catching them at a particularly low moment, and you might be inviting mental fantasies of punching their fist through your fat head, no matter how much we love you (we do!) and no matter how sincerely happy we are that you got pregnant easily (we are).  Try saying it gently, after finding out how their day is going and how their fertility journey has been lately.

2.  Do not tell them just to relax.  Really, the only way that being nervous, concerned, uptight or stressed out will stop healthy people from getting pregnant is if it stops them from having sex.  I know you're trying to help, and you're not sure what to say-- but "just relax" is condescending, unhelpful, and hurtful.  Instead, try "I'm sure this is very frustrating and painful.  I wish I could say something to make it better."  And then ask some followup questions.  Your friend isn't talking to you because you're a medical doctor so don't feel like you need to have a solution.  They want someone to listen, some sympathy.  Give it and don't make them feel like you must think they're stupid.

3.  Along these same lines, don't tell them they just need to get drunk, adopt a puppy, adopt a baby, or have sex around the time of ovulation.  Getting drunk doesn't make you fertile and it's not even funny any more.  Adopting a puppy implies that you can supplant the desire for a baby to cuddle with a furry baby.  And no, having another non-potty-trained citizen in the household doesn't increase the odds on getting pregnant.  And goodness, I think we're well aware of the connection between sex and ovulation, thank you.

4.  Stop asking us why we don't just adopt!  For one thing-- it is actually less expensive to do IVF.  Yes, even to adopt a baby from another country.  It's ridiculously expensive to adopt a baby unless you are ready to take on an older child in foster care who was (usually) placed there by the State because of abuse or neglect.  And there's nothing wrong with not being interested in adopting.

5.  Tell them you love them and you want to be there for them, you're not sure how to help support them, but you're ready to listen.

Chicago area womens' open mat August 5

There will be a women's open mat at my friend's gym on August 5. Please help spread the word!

Copa Jiu-Jitsu—Carlson Gracie Team will be hosting a women's only open mat for female grapplers and women interested in learning about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This event is open to the public and is FREE to all women who would like to participate. We have plenty of mat space available and female grapplers and interested women are welcome to come drill, train and spar! This event is open to women of all ages and ranks. Representatives from Copa Jiu-Jitsu and Carlson Gracie team will be on hand to answer any questions.

Please help us spread the word to the Midwestern female jiu-jitsu community.

Copa Jiu-Jitsu is located inside Quads Gym at 3727 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60657. Street parking is plentiful. There are locker rooms and showers available at the gym.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Blog fixing needed- can you help? Oh, and judo awesomeness.

I'm not an HTML person.  There's something sadly wrong with my blog layout, and I don't know how to fix it.  Is there a websavvy person out there who is willing to help me fix my blog?

Email me please-- georgetteoden at yahoo.  Thanks.

For the rest of you-- this is the coolest :) :) :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Blogger is screwed up...

I can't see squat on my blog... at least not properly.  Hope this gets resolved soon.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Healthy summer eating...

More foodies for you!  Gluten free, dairy free, gets you away from the standard burger or chicken on the grill, and ecologically respectful...

Grilled Swordfish Steaks with Avocado, Crab, Red Chile and Cilantro-- by Chris Bauer.

Sustainably-harvested swordfish (harpoon and handline-caught results in little to no bycatch) is becoming easier to find, just be sure to ask your seafood manager where and how it was caught.  However, it's notoriously high in mercury so don't eat this every week, and if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, skip it.

Serves 2.

18 oz swordfish steak, 3/4" thick, no skin, no bloodline
Salt/cracked black pepper to taste
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp red onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp Serrano pepper, finely diced
4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp sambal oelek chili sauce-- like Sriracha, etc.
4 oz fresh crab meat, no shells

Season fish with salt and pepper, brush lightly with 2 Tbsp oil, and grill over very hot fire 4 minutes on each side to desired doneness (medium to medium-rare is preferred.)

Combine avocado, onion, cilantro, peppers, vinegar, remaining olive oil, lime juice and chili sauce.  Split fish in two, top with avocado mixture, then fresh crab.

Kale and Sugar Snap Pea Salad - by Mark Bittman, NYT.

Serves 4.

1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c peeled, chopped ginger
1/4 c miso paste
1/2 c rice wine vinegar, or to taste
Finely grated zest and juice of two lemons or limes
1/4 c sugar, or as needed
salt and black pepper

 2 Tbsp sugar
4 dried apricots
1 medium bunch kale (Tuscan, red Russian, Winterbor or lacinato), coarse stems removed and discarded, roughly chopped
2 c sugar snap peas, stemmed
4 c feta cheese (optional)
1/4 c almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (or you can use sliced almonds)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint, or to taste

Make the dressing in a blender or food processor, adding everything but the salt and pepper, blending 30 seconds for a creamy emulsion.  Add salt and pepper, and more vinegar, to taste.

In small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine sugar and 1/4 c water.  Add dried apricots and poach till just rehydrated, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.
In serving bowl, combine kale, peas, and feta if using it.  Add dressing to taste, toss well-- sprinkle with almonds and garnish with apricots and mint.

Apple-Avocado Salad with Tangerine Dressing

Serves 2 as main course, 4 as side dish.

1 (10 ounce) package baby greens
1/4 c chopped red onion
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/3 c crumbled blue cheese
2 tsp lemon zest
1 apple - peeled, cored and sliced
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced

Juice of 4 tangerines or mandarin oranges
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste
In a large bowl, toss together the baby greens, red onion, walnuts, blue cheese, and lemon zest. Mix in the apple and avocado just before serving.
In a container with a lid, mix the mandarin orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, and salt. (Alternatively, you can put the peeled segments of fruit into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients.)  Drizzle over the salad as desired.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Going really fast and not crashing.

I'm something of an adrenaline junkie.  Not so much for jumping out of functional airplanes on the end of a bedsheet or off of functional bridges on the end of a rubberband... but I love scuba diving, going to trial, show jumping, and I used to love motorcycle road racing.  I'll admit it, I loved all the "Fast and Furious" movies.  I'm a sucker for muscles, cars, muscles with cars and cars with muscles.  What's not to like?  (My favorite was Tokyo Drift because it was more about technique and finesse, less about engine displacement-- and I think Sung Kang who played Han is hot, hot, hot.)

Anyway-- check out Gymkhana Five!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

What makes Henry Akins' seminars and privates the best I've ever taken.

Last Saturday was the hands-down best seminar I've ever taken.  The seminar was so good, I had to sign up for a private lesson before the thing was even over.  (Not a cheap private, either.)  And that private was so good, I had to get another 24 hours later before he left town.  And in both privates, I felt like the first five minutes alone was worth the price of admission.  It was truly inspirational to the point where I am back on the mats 6-7 days a week again.  THANK GOD!

You know I've been totally poopy-headed about jiu jitsu for a while now.  Between my meniscus last summer, and some political stuff that happened with academies, instructors, etc-- in the last year I moved away from my training-7-days-a-week self into a lackadaisical mindset where I was drifting further and further away from the art.  I can look back and see that yes, truthfully, I was very busy with work and yes, I was going through fertility treatments and yes, I was spending more quality time with my husband... but bottom line, I was bored and too competitive and too ego-focused to enjoy jiu jitsu any more.  Every training session was becoming more about winning or losing, more about being down on myself for being such a shitty blue belt, more about negativity and predictions that I would never get my purple if I couldn't even do X to an X-belt... etc. Bad juju for sure.

But then I took this best-ever seminar.  The seminar and privates were taught by Rickson black belt Henry Akins, who used to run Rickson's academy in LA and now, with Antoni Hardonk, runs Dynamix MMA in Santa Monica, California.  (Before this, I would have said the best seminar I'd ever taken was a tie between my instructor Donald Park and Rener Gracie.)

For perspective, aside from my usual instructors I've taken classes/seminars/privates with Relson, Royler, Rhalan, and Rener Gracie, JacareJohnny Ramirez, John Ouano, Cleber LucianoDaniel Moraes, Val Worthington, Emily Kwok, Marcelo Garcia, Sonny Nohara, Hillary Williams, Eduardo Fraga, Denny Prokopos, Rodolfo Vieira, Leticia Ribeiro, Beatriz Mesquita, and others who are less well-known.  I say this not to brag in any way, but just to say I have some experience outside my usual academy and that I try to explore different schools and perspectives on jiu jitsu.

The experience of training with Henry Akins blew me away, and I've spent the last couple days pondering how to explain it-- why was it so much better, and what makes a good private or seminar in my eyes.  Now I am ready to dish.  [in no particular order of importance]

1.  He's fluent in English.  Sounds harsh maybe-- but I can't help it that so much is lost even by a perfect translator.  I took a seminar from Rodolfo Vieira and even his translators couldn't speak much English, so I missed out on a tremendous quantity of information. As Henry and Rickson have described it, this is "invisible" jiu jitsu-- the most important details are the ones you cannot discern just by watching.  You have to feel it AND you have to know what you're "feeling for" and these things require a verbal explanation, not just demonstration.

2.  He teaches in the 3 primary learning paths simultaneously.  People learn in 3 primary modalities-- visual, kinesthetic, and aural.  Some people are mostly visual (show them how to do it and they'll mimic you.)  Some are mostly aural (explain it in words and they'll understand.)  Some are kinesthetic (do it to them, and move them into position so they do it to you, and they get it.)  Of course if you're teaching a roomful of accountants about the lastest changes in tax law, you won't need to walk around holding their hand as they write-- the kinesthetic won't much apply in some cases.  But in jiu jitsu it is totally obvious that instructors will need to accommodate all three of these means of absorbing information.  The best instructors are the ones who can share their knowledge in all three ways at once.

I think the most common problem I see with jiu jitsu instruction is the inability to put things into words.  Instructors should not assume everyone in the audience has an equally good vantage point to observe the demonstration, and should not assume the students are all watching (sometimes, we're taking notes.)  How many times have you been told to "put your hand here-- no here, no the other hand, no like this."  Frustrating, isn't it?  Wouldn't you rather hear "Put your head-side hand flat on the mat next to their jaw, fingers pointing out"-- of course!

Henry was extremely good at "using his words" while he was demonstrating the movements.  I took notes nearly transcription-style because his explanations were concise, complete, and accurate.  I could remember what he told me to do long after I remembered what it looked like.  Of course his visual demonstrations were superb, but he has the nice habit several other instructors I've enjoyed share-- when he's wanting you to pay attention to something a particular hand or foot is doing, he snaps his fingers a few times or stamps his foot on the mat before doing the highlighted action.  And thank God for his kinesthetic teaching skills. I could feel how the move should be done, and then when I tried to mimic him, he'd move me in the correct way if I wasn't doing it myself.  This tripartite method of teaching reached every level of my brain, and my retention is through the roof.

3.  He emphasizes attribute-free jiu jitsu.  99% of jiu jitsu people can recite the canned verbage about Helio being a runt and adapting the art for use by smaller weaker opponents.  99% of jiu jitsu people know you're not supposed to use strength to force a move.  99% talk the talk (myself included) but very damn few walk the walk.  Henry is a medium-sized guy-- maybe 6', 170lbs-- but his techniques really appear to be executable by a teeny-weeny against a big big one.  When he feels you pushing, straining, or exerting force, he corrects you.  I can't possibly do this facet of the experience any justice-- because I'm writing this, not letting you see it for yourself, and because I'm a blue belt talking about something that's waaaay above my head.  I can barely glimpse it myself, which is why I can't explain it or put it into words any better.  Here's a little bit of what Henry said about this subject, during his interview with On The Mat:

"The thing is when I train I always try to train like I’m weak. I basically try to train like I’m a weakling. My own physical attributes I’m always going to have, no one can take away my strength or my speed, no one can take away my endurance except me, so I always try to train like a weak person. I say to myself when I do a technique would this work if he’s stronger than me or bigger than me or heavier than me. Would it work? Would what I am doing work? If it does, that’s the Jiu Jitsu I’m looking for, something that would work on everyone. . . I think with Rickson he has always stuck to the philosophy which is really knowing how to use leverage and never use strength in his techniques. Always finding an easy way to do something. Making sure that a technique works with either gi or no gi and also making sure the technique is applicable in a fight. Also making sure that everyone can use the technique, not just a big strong guy or just a small skinny fast guy, but the technique has to work everyone. He’s always trying to find a pure answer for any type of situation."

4.  Credibility.  Henry told us that back in the day, Rickson didn't allow any of this stuff to be taught outside his academy.  I don't mean "outside of the Gracies," I mean to anyone who wasn't a Rickson student.  Also, Henry was Rickson's son Rockson's best friend, and Henry was Kron's housemate at one point in time.  So I'm sure he had access unparalleled in the jiu jitsu world, to one of the (if not the) best practitioners of the art.  And, this was back when Rickson was still fighting.  Henry was only the third American to get his blackbelt from Rickson and he got it in the era when those were few and far between.  This is probably part of the whole attribute-free jiu jitsu thing-- it felt to me to be a purer, rarer, more elegant version of jiu jitsu than anything I've ever seen or felt before.  I have not been training jiu jitsu until now.  And Henry is motivated to share all that he can, which is good, because there aren't many people out there who have this kind of knowledge so close to the source AND with the ability to teach it effectively.

Rickson, Henry, and Kron on the day Henry received his blackbelt.

5.  It's not limited to a sport focus.  I think to some extent we've weakened this beautiful art by putting rules in place for competitions because now people craft games around the rules instead of around reality.  Yeah, I don't want to risk being slammed on my neck if/when I triangle someone in a tournament.  HOWEVER-- before I go to a tournament, I should know jiu jitsu that keeps me safe BEFORE I know jiu jitsu that complies with tournament rules and may make me vulnerable to danger in a rule-free setting.  Jiu jitsu is a self-defense art and we should stay true to that.  Sorry to spoil the fun for you berimbolo boys and girls out there; I don't think Henry will teach new berimbolo setups.  But ask Marcelo Garcia how he felt after his MMA debut.  It sucks getting punched while you're trying to do jiu jitsu.  

I was deeply grateful for Henry's explanation of a mount escape that will keep me safe from face-bashing [Hint: it has NOTHING to do with protecting your face with your arms/hands.]  And aside from collar chokes, Henry's material is independent of the gi.  He won't show you how to pull guard or do a flying armbar (not terribly useful on concrete) nor will he encourage you to invert before a standing opponent (way to get your head kicked in.)  His basic techniques are so profound, you'll walk away believing that mastery of those few concepts will render any spinny flippy newly-invented techniques totally harmless.

6.  It's not about adding to your technique library.  Henry told us "You know everything at blue belt you need for blackbelt-- except the timing and details."  I don't like most seminars because they make me feel like I just stocked up on random hodgepodge low-percentage ingredients and I still don't know how to cook.  Henry's the opposite.  I saw so many damn similarities between concepts he taught, and so many other opportunities where the same concept would be useful-- it was like having fireworks in my head the whole time.  So yeah, you'll get some very high-percentage "moves"-- but they're just vehicles for teaching you concepts, which appear over and over in all the other realms of your jiu jitsu.  It's learning how to fish, instead of being handed a basket of fish.

7.  The ordinary "good instructor" stuff still applies.  He made time in the seminar for lots and lots of drilling, and he spent it walking around the room critiquing and doing mini-privates with everyone so they didn't just rep it three times and sit down and talk.  He's not in it for the money and he doesn't make you feel stupid no matter how dumb the question.  His genuine passion to share his knowledge to benefit your future safety (or so you can protect those you love) shines out of everything he does.  He's humble, ridiculously so considering how phenomenally good he is.  He's kind.  And enthusiastic.  And straightforward.  During part of my private lessons (both of which were on escaping the cross side) he asked me something like "and what would you do from there?"  So I thought about it a moment and casually tossed my leg over, saying "oh, go to mount."  Without missing a beat, he said "oh, your mount sucks."  Now I know I just finished saying he's kind, but that was a kind thing to say-- it was true, it was necessary, and he proceeded to fix at least some of my mount problems.  So he doesn't ignore problems just because you're not aware of them.

I'd say one special element from Hillary's seminars was that she emailed all the attendees her own outline and notes explaining the techniques she taught...and in private lessons, she does something incredibly unique I wish everyone else did too:  she continually asks you to restate what you do and why and in what order, in your own words.  Her approach is very intellectual and academic in focus, like Henry's-- she wants you to know why you do something, and by asking you to repeat it back, she is always checking for errors in your comprehension.  I found it nice because there were times I got it with my mind, but couldn't quite execute with my body just yet-- so I could at least tell her I wasn't a complete idiot even when my body betrayed me.

Anyway, can you tell, I have the biggest smile on my face every time I think of a detail from Henry's instruction.  Training under him has brought new life and spirit and motivation to my study.  I feel I have completely recaptured my whitebelt awe and excitement and "grasshopper-ness" and I could care less about winning or losing right now.  It's all about being loose and flowy and using no attributes.  It's all about listening to my opponent's body, asking myself where their base is and how I can use it against them.  I no longer feel like quite such a loser for my inability to effectively invert or berimbolo or reverse DLR.  I'm moving away from categorizing moves in my head and trying instead to feel things.  Maybe I'm getting no better, but I'm having way more fun, so who cares :)

There's not much out there on Henry.  Here's one of his Fightworks Podcast interviews in 2010, which has some cool Rickson anecdotes... and here's another about the opening of Dynamix. 

I tried to embed the video of Henry teaching a tight kimura from cross side, but I couldn't figure out how to fix the broken HTML.  So this is a link to said video, over on Sherdog's Technique of the Week back in 2011.

Henry spoke with the Flow podcast for their episode nine found here in which Henry discusses his views on jiu jitsu now, MMA, and Rickson. 

If you can go to California and train with Henry, you won't be disappointed.  Save your pennies and be ready to stay a few weeks at least.  I'll see you there!