Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Got In Trouble With My Mom

I am reprimanded for 2 things regarding this blog:

1 - I swear too much, including blasphemy.
2 - I denigrate my own accomplishments too much & don't give myself enough credit.

My official response:

1 - I do swear quite a bit, don't I? I love a good swear word. Take the "F" word, for example. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside just like a quesadilla. It's a hardworking word, too, being a verb, a noun, and an adjective. I think its quite beautiful.

Regarding blasphemy and other swear words, I told her the following.

"Mom," I said, "God likes me and I like God. We have a good relationship. And He says that He's noticed I don't rape & murder people, or molest children, or set dogs on fire, so He told me He's going to let this one slide."

2 - It's also true that I write a lot about my shortcomings in Krav. This is because I generally tend to think of what I want to improve instead of ruminating on how well I keep my back heel up in fighting stance. In the interest of parity, and because I love my mom & want her to be happy, here is a list of Krav things I do well:

*I am a hard worker. I continued to come to class the entire two months my injured shoulder left me incapacitated, and I still rarely miss a session.
*I do not quit easily. Twice I've had to leave class to vomit, and both times I've immediately staggered back into the room to finish training.
*I care about my students and want them to succeed, and will jump through any number of hoops to help bring this about.
*I am very teachable. If my instructor tells me to fix something, I always try do so as quickly as possible, preferably immediately.
*I am a good teacher. I really believe that, and it makes me incredibly happy.
*I work on my weak points as soon as I recognize a problem, and do not stop working on them until they are better. Right now my weakest skill is sparring, so instead of practicing my front kick, which is already strong, I'm doing a lot of sparring. It's kind of embarrassing, but that's the door I have to walk through to get to where I want to be.
*I'm outperforming some people half my age. Bwahahahaha!
*I'm not as good as I want to be, but I'm a whole lot better than I was. I earned this.
*I smell like roses. This is a verifiable fact.

Ta dah!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's Good for My Character, I Suppose

I need to be stronger, so Big Daddy J has told me to stop worrying about coming in first in CrossFit & pick the heaviest weight I can manage. I'm to do everything with heavy weights, with perfect form, as slowly as it takes to complete the workout. Yesterday I got cut off, I didn't even complete all the rounds. I didn't used to be competitive about this stuff, but now that I've become so, it's difficult to let others pass me by! Yeah, yeah, I know in my brain that this is exactly what I need to do to improve, I'm just saying I'm immature enough that I'm having to force myself to do what's correct instead of what's easy.

My plan is this: I turn 44 on October 19, so I will do this 'slow & heavy' program until then, and then I will pick up the speed again. I think 2 months is enough time to become stronger & better. Anyway, I need a goal to shoot for or I'll peter out.

And as far as grinding my teeth about seeing everyone "beat" me, I keep reminding myself of a great quote I read on t-nation yesterday: "Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone."

I love that, and believe its true. I also believe that the reason most people become fat/lazy/numb is that we as a species tend to seek comfort over capacity, as Mark Twight puts it. I used to do that, too, and felt myself slipping back toward that habit recently. I'm having to refocus my objectives: take off the 10 pounds of fat I've earned by gobbling up every carb I can find lately, & commit to a new workout schedule that accommodates the teaching time I'm now putting in (which was previously workout time). This heavy & slow CrossFit plan is a step in the right direction.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Just saw video of myself "sparring" the Gentleman this morning. Sweet baby Jesus. I look like a timid little mouse. Poor G is just going about 20% on me, how sad for him! It's extremely clear in the video that I will do just about anything but strike my friend in the face. How depressing. The good news is, this is going to make an excellent "before" video!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ladies class went well tonight. Jeff announced we are making the class a permanent part of the schedule - yay! - and everyone was very happy to hear it. Tonight we worked hammers, vertical front kicks (the lazy man's term for the kick), and bear hugs. I am scared of Mighty Mouse. If she ever demands money or food or cute shoes from me, I will hand them over. I notice that when the Gentleman attacks me he does it hard and with abandon, with no thought to his own safety. I'm not like that. I'm too fearful when I attack. Working on it. That and about a million other things.

Also, I'm putting together a packet to be distributed at the ladies self defense seminar coming up in September. I've started creating a reading list of books and blogs for anyone who is interested in learning about that stuff, and downloaded some info off the Austin Police Department's website. Today I was asking questions of a husband and wife who are students at F&F - she's a cop and he's a former EMS worker. I'm creating a list of what people can expect from EMS, cops, and even their own friends in the immediate aftermath of an assault. One fascinating thing the EMS guy told me "her body will be treated like a crime scene". That creeped me out & I asked what he meant. He talked about not destroying evidence, treating any life threatening injuries, but then letting her get to the police as quickly as possible so EMS doesn't accidentally ruin the case. An example he gave was that sexual assault attackers often bite or lick their victims, and if he licks her hand, and the EMS workers go to put an IV in her hand, they'll sterilize it first - destroying any DNA evidence that could have been collected from the saliva. This stuff is fascinating to me. More to come.

Many Rounds of Bang

Though I've been telling myself for ages to get back to working out properly, I just always seem to be "too busy", which, of course, is bullshit. So last week I took GB's level 3/4 class to get myself jump started, and last night I took it again. I think its working. I partnered with Miss C, my favorite partner, who I haven't worked with in several months, and we did fun stuff I didn't know how to do, so I'm learning again! Then for about the last 10 minutes of class we sparred. Yay! I've started having trouble punching people in the face again, I guess because its been 6 weeks or so since I've done any sparring. After a few rounds I was ok, so clearly I just need to do it as often as possible.

Fortunately the Gentleman asked me to spar after class, so we went at it for about half an hour, then I stepped into the MMA class in room 1. My first class being taught by Tap. More sparring. One hour. Freaking awesome.

Now I ache. There is no part of me that does not ache.

Last night, when I got home, I took a shower & climbed into bed, where I proceeded to dream that I was, you guessed it, sparring. I woke up at 3:18 a.m., cursing myself. Enough with the punching, I need some rest.

Its funny how perception can deviate so very much from reality. Between rounds I had my hands on my hips, pacing around in circles. Big Daddy J beckoned me into the lobby and asked me if I was feeling pretty good. "You must be, the way you're strutting around like a badass." Ha. If I'd had the energy to laugh, I would have. The truth was that my heart rate was up so much from being out of shape that if I stopped moving I got sick to my stomach. I could sit down with my head between my knees, or lay on my back, to achieve the same end, but Relentless had taught me never to do that when I went to Phase, never to show weakness to my instructors. I figured it was good practice to keep that habit up, so I just keep moving, trying to keep the "Dear God, somebody help me" look off my face. Guess it worked!

More sparring with the Gentleman on Thursday. Yay!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Taking a Bite

Taught level 1 last night in the small room. I don't think I've ever done that before. It was a pretty big class, and we worked palm heel strikes, round kicks, front kicks to a vertical target, and 360's. How I love 360's. Such a natural movement. Mudslide came and sat in on class for a while, so I had him attack me for the demonstration & he was brilliant. Good hard attacks, but very visible.

I've just finished writing an article for the new website called "The Unwritten Rules of the Mat", an idea I stole from watching the Tour de France where they had a similar story about the rules of the peloton.

Looking back on last night's class, I realize how often people just instinctively know the rules of good behavior in class, even though they can sometimes be different than those of the outside world. It's extremely rare for someone to just be an outright ass in training. I refer in the article to an incident when I had to strike back at someone who was being reckless & hurting other students (including me) by running over them when pushing his partner back with his strikes. It was making me mad, but I knew he was pretty new to this, so I tapped him on the shoulder & asked him politely to stop doing that. He said he would, then slammed into us again. I asked him a little more sternly to be careful. I saw him running over other people, stomping their ankles & hurting them. Ooooh, it made me mad. So I positioned myself next to him during the next round, & when he ran over me I body slammed him & stuck my finger in his face & told him he'd better cut the crap right now. He was shocked, and after class came over to me & apologized repeatedly. It turned out he really hadn't meant to harm anyone, he was just being a wild man trying to keep up with his more experienced partner. I felt kind of bad at the time about how mean I'd been to him, but it was only then that he stopped stomping us all to death. I guess sometimes when a growl doesn't work you have to take a little bite.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Faster, Pussycat, Kill, Kill!

Well, that's a movie that I've never seen, but it just has the best name ever. It's these ladies in our ladies-only class I'm thinking about. They're starting to get a big more aggressive & it's tickling me to no end. Juuuuuuust a little bit, it's poking through. You can see the difference between the women who are there for their first or second class & those who have been doing it a while, and I'm loving that!

Tonight we worked chokes, a source of frustration for me, because they are so shy about their defenses, and real life chokes are just so scary and horrible. I know it takes time to build that aggression up - for me it actually took years, and I'm still not where I want to be. But I was raised on MTV and microwave ovens and I want everything NOW!

So it was so cool when we went out into the creepy hallway, where you can't see around any of the corners, & choked each other. When you get people in a new environment they really loosen up, and we started seeing some real progress! Then, the most fun, each of us, including me, went through a gauntlet of the whole class. Each side of the narrow-ish hallway was lined with potential attackers, and you never knew who - if anyone - it would be. The most nerve-wracking part was standing there with your back to everyone while Mighty Mouse gave out attacker assignments. We are strongly encouraging everyone to use their voices to yell at their attackers & one lady yelled, "Get off me!" and to her very next attacker she yelled, "You, too!" and we all laughed. Its getting more and more fun as we get to know each other.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oh, Happy, Sweaty, Bruisy Day

I think I might be starting to suck a bit, because I've not had a proper training schedule for over a month now. Today was my first day back. I'm sore & banged up & have a huge mouse on my right shin, which is the one that's already trashed. Nice. I don't seem to care. Though I did care when I was icing it a few minutes ago, but whatcha' gonna do?

I rushed into the Gorgeous Bastard's level 3/4 class from a meeting that I still didn't stay til the end of. His classes are always so creative and challenging, I just know I'm going to have a wealth of ideas to steal. Tonight we did this cool thing where we shoved our attacker, who was standing too close & in front of us, then as they flew backward we stepped in with a front kick to a vertical target, which pushed them back further. Then we didn't "advance" open/close style, we stepped in & threw a hard right cross to a focus mitt. The next round we continued to advance with more right crosses, ending with stomps to the kick shield, which the "attacker" dropped. It was really challenging to get the right distance in movement - I found myself often moving too close in, or not close in enough to get a strong punch.

The next thing was even better. One person stood, alone, clad in full pads & mouth piece, and boxing gloves, at the end of the room near the door. (No head gear) Another person stood at the opposite end of the room. They were facing each other. In between, the entire rest of the class, all in full pads also, stood between them, holding kick shields, standing & holding the pads in a herring bone pattern, facing the first person at the end of the room. On GB's "go", person A fights through the padholders, who try to prevent his passage. Once they have finally made it through, they quickly grab the lone person at the back of the room & get them in 3rd party protection position, then rush for the door. Every other student in the room has by this point thrown their kick shield aside, & proceeds to attack person A with punches, kicks, whatever. The Emasculator must have kicked me in the ribs 3 times. Actually it was 3 times. I counted.
I am extremely excited to be doing this again.

Next hour I - well, for a while I ran my mouth in the lobby. Then I talked Copperhead into taking bag class with me. It was brutal. I told Relentless when he corrected my form to SHUUUUT UUUUUUUUUP! He was right though. Dammit.

Then about 20 minutes of MMA with the Professor. Pooped.


I'm constantly trying to come up with new ways to make the ladies class more interesting, so much so that Mighty Mouse is having to rein me in a bit. She's right, too, sometimes I want to do fun stuff before they're really ready for it. But last night we did something fun.

Everyone hates practicing eye gouges, because no matter how softly you do it to a pad, it hurts. I guess if you reeeeally do it softly enough, it won't hurt, but you also will get zero benefit. So I read on an online forum that grapefruit halves make a nice substitute for the human eye. They're gooey and fleshy, and when you cut it in half cross-ways, that little triangle of flesh makes a decent approximation of the size of an eye. Hee hee!

So we went outside with a big bag of grapefruits and a big knife & started going nuts with eye jabs. Man, we were covered in citrus bits and juice! I totally underestimated the juiciness of these fruits. It was cool. We had them set up in two lines & each lady got a fresh grapefruit half to start on. A couple of people went so crazy with it they totally ripped their fruits in half with their jabs! I don't know, in the end, how realistic the fruits were, but it was useful because it made them contemplate the reality of what we're training for, for just a few seconds. Everyone, even me, hesitated for just a second before ramming our fingers into that wet mess, but watching them make the decision to just go for it is pretty much what I live for.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Great Article

At krav we're always harping on about the fact that the way you train is the way you'll fight. That's because when your body experiences an adrenaline surge & your life is in danger, your brain & fine motor skills degrade, and your body automatically does what its been taught to do. So if you practice throwing weak knees to your partner, then drop your hands & stand there saying, "okay, your turn", that's what you'll do when the heat is on. Yes, its really true.

And here's a link to an article called Combat Psychology and Sports Performance that explains exactly why. You're welcome!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm Having Fun!

Okay, I'm having fun teaching. Can't quite seem to get enough of it & when I see my students progress it is SO exciting. Usually the men catch on quite quickly, often, I believe, because they had more athletic experience when they were younger. Even with Title 9, its less common for female children to be serious athletes than it is for males. And then there's that whole testosterone thing going on with the guys - often a definite advantage.

So in spite of my unexpected extreme enthusiasm for training women, which I'll get into another time, I'm fascinated by the occasional male adult student I get who seems to have never, ever done anything athletic before. They are often shy & just don't really seem to trust their body, know how to use it, or believe that its powerful. This is a common problem for females, but much rarer for males, so when I get one, I watch them like a hawk, because I want that payoff. I want to be there when the switch flips and the shy guy gets that look in his eyes & finally makes a real fist & just NAILS the pad, forcing the padholders body back for the very first time.

It happened recently, and I got to see it! It is so exciting, because you just know that newfound confidence is eventually going to bleed over into every area of his life. God, I love being a part of that process!

So, yeah, this is definitely my idea of a good time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Watched Big Daddy J train a new girl in CrossFit today, wondering if that might be where I'm going.....having lunch with him tomorrow to talk. Refuse to speculate. You can't make me.

Walked back to the main studio & took The Gentleman's bag class, like an idiot. My abs are still screaming from Stronggirl's CrossFit Festival of Torment yesterday, but some people never learn. I'd like to learn to teach bag sometime, I really like that class. Glad I'm back to working out properly, maybe now I'll actually make it through a whole class. Eventually. Then I went to Mighty Fine Burgers! I sure did! Bwahahahaha!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Girl's Club

Enough if this non-posting nonsense! And today I have something special to write about. Mighty Mouse & I taught the first in the July series of classes for women only. It was fun! By the time it was over everyone seemed exhilarated & ready to come back. We did lose one - one lady having her first class pooped out during the warmup & almost fainted. She had to leave. Its unfortunate, because it wasn't a difficult warmup by krav standards, though let's face it, back when I was taking my first class there's no way I could have done it. People need to learn to pace themselves. Another lady found the warmup to be too much for her so she just walked around the room until she got her heart rate & breath back to where she was able to participate again. I guess sometimes the way we learn our limits is to exceed them, though. Kind of like with tequila.

We went over the basics tonight, as we had a couple of very new ladies - palm heels, front kicks to the groin, & knees, ending with the drill where you mount the kick shield & pound the crap out of it. Next Wednesday we'll build on it with straight punches & add chokes - probably 2 handed pluck, its the easiest. Also, next week we'll start adding in training in street clothes, which I'm very keen on. It was an idea I'd been toying with in my mind, but the Machine requested it & seemed to feel quite strongly about it, so I'd like to do it every Wednesday if Mighty Mouse will agree. Actually, after the first time we do it we should ask the students how they feel about it, and be guided by that.

I'm very excited about this class, the women are very open to whatever we want to do & they say they feel more comfortable training without the men around, so they can let loose more. I am very surprised to find myself feeling so strongly about the success of this series of classes. With my normal preference for male training partners, friends, and companions my very ardent desire to see these (and all) women grow in confidence and ass-kicking ability was the last thing I expected. But when I see how exuberant they are after class it just makes me greedy for more.

Hey! My husband just came in the with the mail & my new focus mitts are in! I fell in love with the Title Micro Mitts, so I ordered some. Maybe tomorrow I'll smack the Gentleman with them in our sparring session. To paraphrase Bam Bam, "I got some mitts, look out!"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trained in the parking garage last night because the class was so big we couldn't all fit in room 1. I think I counted 36 people. It was hot, noisy, and the floor was slippery. It was a nice change, actually, and I'd like to utilize the garage using attacks that might actually happen there. So...say the defender is walking along minding his own business & the attacker darts out from behind a car to put the choke on, something like that. That wouldn't have worked last night, though, way too many people for us to keep an eye on everyone when they're as spread out as they'd have to be to pull that off.

I think I might be toughening up a little. While holding a kick shield for the Gentleman to demonstrate front kicks, I held it too close to my body & ended up getting kicked in the solar plexus. From his fighting stance, he quickly froze & asked if I could keep going & I insisted that I could, so he continued. In the past I would have crunched up like I'd been shot with a bow & arrow, but I can keep going now. Of course, I had to bring it up 50 times later on, to torment him, but that's what friends are for. The Gentleman goes hard with me, he doesn't baby me, & I love that.

Last night we had a girl come in for her first lesson, she's the friend of a new student & he brought her in to try it out. She didn't last 10 minutes! I saw her sitting on one of the little concrete things that prevent your car from going further forward in a parking space & asked if she was alright. She told me, "This stuff is not for me. Everything can't be for everybody, & I don't like this." Well, in spite of my belief that everyone needs to be capable of basic self defense, I've always respected people who can just say, "NO, I don't care what everyone else in the room is doing, I'm doing what I want." That's very difficult for most people, so good for her.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm Back, Baby!

So glad to be doing something approximating my old schedule! Went back for teacher training, not knowing what to expect now that Phase is over. The Gorgeous Bastard had Bam Bam teach me cardio, as she's learning to teach bag class. Then he had me teach "any level 2 technique" to her - I chose side kick, which I haven't done since I was a fetus. So I had to relearn how to do it, and the funny thing was the easiest part was picking out what the teaching points would be. I liked that.

Next hour I had the choice of attending GB's level 3/4 class or assisting The Gentleman as he taught level 1/2. That was a tough call, as I reeeeally miss GB's classes, but I'm still having so much fun teaching (the shine hasn't wore off it yet, as my aunt would say), and the class was so enormous, that I decided to teach. It was fun! The Gentleman kicked me so hard when I held a kick shield to my abdomen for round kicks that it reverberated up into my throat & made me feel just for an instant like he was going to kick my lunch back up out of me. The class was ginormous. I'm beginning to wonder how long this location will hold us all, the classes are busting at the seams.

Next was yoga, yay! My body is tight as a drum right now, and Dr. J fixed me right up. I can pop into handstands against the wall quite easily now, so you know what that means - time to scoot away from the wall.

Last hour was MMA. Felt like a dork because I learned that a student from level 1 has been letting me call her the wrong name for at least a month. Worked the pads, worked the ground, got my ass handed to me from sidemount yet again. I have never successfully escaped from sidemount. Its a flaw. I prefer punching people in the face to letting them squish me.

I'm in such a good mood now, even though I've been home for a week, now I feel like I'm "back home" and it feels really good.

Good Question

A friend on Facebook asked me what, knowing what I know now, I would change about my preparation for Phase. And you know what? I have to say I wouldn't change a thing. I would actually say that The Pen & I were probably some of the best prepared people there. That doesn't change the fact that I was sick with fear or that I had a lot of corrections to make once I got there or that it was one of the most difficult weeks I've ever been through. All those things were very much the case. But the people who trained me are very good at what they do, and whether I wanted to or not, I did as I was told, and it paid off.

If you are considering going to Phase A, here are some things you should be doing to ensure your success:

*Memorize your teaching points. I wrote out copies of the points - all of them - on flash cards & used them to study. I probably made a total of 4, maybe 5 sets.

I tried a million different ways to say things, but my instructors always brought me back to the basics. Simpler is better. No one but The Pen & I had been drilled on the points this way, and it made it more difficult for them when it came time to teach.

*Practice teach in front of your instructors - a lot. This is a nightmare. It was my least favorite thing to do. Flopping around like a flounder in front of people who are very good at what you still suck at is no fun, but if you can do it right in front of them, you can do it right in front of anybody.

*Teach real students in a real class. You will do make more stupid mistakes than you ever thought possible. Good for you. Now is the time to do that.

*Teach when you are exhausted, because then your brain is not functioning properly. The Gentleman used to put me through a particularly horrific training session where he would wear me out with a general workout, then make me strike the heavy bag while he continually whacked me & dragged me away from it, forcing me to fight to get back to the bag. Then he'd start non-stop chokes, hard. Then, when I was really having to force myself not to beg him to stop, he'd yell, "Teach choke from the side, NOW!". This single tactic was one of the most useful things I practiced, because in Phase they will wear you out past anything you have ever endured (unless maybe you're in the military), and still expect you to perform. So you might as well get used to it.

*Train with people who have no problem tormenting you and screwing with your head. The Gorgeous Bastard specialized in mentally torturing me (all for my own good, I can assure you), while Relentless & The General loved to tell me to prepare to teach one thing in front of the class, then at the last possible second tell me to teach something totally different RIGHT NOW. All this was enormously helpful to me, as a great portion of getting through Phase is mental. You have to be like the Black Knight in Monty Python's Search For The Holy Grail. When your Phase instructor chops your arm off, you simply say, "It's only a flesh wound!" and keep going. This is easier said than done.

*Learn how to eat, drink, & supplement in the best way to support your body. Then make that a habit well before you leave.

*Train hard and do it consistently. I think I only missed one session in 8 months, when I went out of town. That day was awesome!

*Decide before you go why you're doing this, and you'd better have a damn good reason. It's not fun. It's hard. It's painful. The odds of you being injured are high. Having a meaningful why makes it possible to get through the horrible how.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Some Notes on Phase A

I usually prefer to write fairly coherently, but I'm not sure I'm capable of that right now. Here are some observations:

*On instructors:

I was really pleased to find out that Pete is not the Demon of Crossroads Boulevard. He has actually been incredibly sweet and supportive. I like him.

Matt Romon was also a pleasure to learn from. There's none of the mind games I was told of, he's just teaching you and helping you to grow. Again, I like him.

There's a muscular & pretty girl here named L----- who is kind of mean. I'm sure she's very nice when you get to know her, but I'm staying away from her for now. She got really snippy with me on the first day & I was just about to get snippy back when I remembered Mami K told me, "They will know just how to get under your skin. Don't let them." So I shut the hell up. Besides, L----- looks like she could kill me with one hand, roll me up in a low-carb tortilla with the other hand & swallow me whole. And let's face it, she did take the time to come over & correct me a couple of times, which I appreciate. But when she looks at me she always appears to want to slap the shit out of me, so I try to stay out of arm's reach. They always say female instructors are hardest on potential female instructors, as a way of toughening them up, so I'm not taking it personally, I'm just staying out of her way.

*People break and then bounce back: On the 2nd or 3rd day (already they are blurring together, today was day 4) we had to do an absorbing drill at the end of the day where you cover your head & absorb constant punches to the gut. My partner was backing up & saying quietly, "I can't, I can't, I can't..." and I was yelling, "Yes, you can!" I was worried about her that night, but the next morning she showed up bright eyed & bushy tailed, ready to go. I like the fact that she punches hard & keeps going, even though her tendonitis is giving her a very hard time. She's also an experienced groundfighter, so she was great to partner with today on the ground. I mean freaking fantastic, also because she's only 5'2" & light as a feather. However, she gets sloppy on her standup sometimes & I've taken many hard hits to the head & ribs, which is making me grind my teeth a bit. She's not doing it on purpose, though, so whatever.

*All those problems I've always had punching my friends in the face, all my little internal struggles with that, are no issue here. I like these people, but they're not my friends & I punch them without hesitation. Hurray!

*Christian is having a bad day. Day 4 is traditionally the Bad Day, & he is suffering, but he has such a great attitude. I'm incredibly lucky to be here with him. Also, he is continuing to perform very well, even though today it was really taking everything he had. He has a black toenail (from an injury yesterday) that will eventually fall off, massive cuts and bruises everywhere, a large cut on the inside of his top lip, and his thigh is completely covered with a giant bruise from absorbing kicks. His partner is training to be a professional MMA fighter & kicks like Wayne, meaning even his soft kicks feel like you've been hit with a bat.
I looked over at him today to see how he was doing & he was going at it with his partner on the focus mitts & Christian had a look on his face like he was a total fucking psychopath. I mean scary! It was awesome.

*Last night I had the Bad Night. The only time we actually get to eat real food is in the evening. You have to have a very light breakfast & maybe just a protein bar and a piece of fruit for lunch or you won't keep it down when the workout starts. Last night I waited too long to eat (filthy lying host at the restaurant!!!! An hour and a half is NOT half an hour!) By the time the food got there it was too late, my blood sugar had crashed too much & I was choking back vomit at the table while I shoved a melted protein bar in my mouth with tears streaming down my face. I wasn't actually "crying" but there was water coming out of my eyes, if that makes sense. I was just SO hungry from the workout. When dinner finally came I shoved as much of the food into my belly as I could then literally staggered out of there & fell asleep the instant my butt hit the car seat. (Jackie was driving, he came to see me & take me out to a special dinner, the sweet thing.) La Fogata can go straight to Hell and take their delicious Mexican food with them.

*Today Big Daddy J came to visit us! It was such a nice surprise, like a ray of sunshine, but I also felt really self conscious at first. (Dork.) He gave me some good advice on what I was doing wrong during an exercise, but now I have no idea what it was, or even what we were doing. Everything is blurring together into a haze of pain and sweat.

*Matt R. & Pete have left us now, and AJ & Todd will begin teaching us tomorrow. I was very sad to see Matt & Pete go, and am a little bit nervous about how AJ & Todd will be, but frankly I'm just too tired to work up much anxiety about that or anything else.

*I look like a refugee, I smell like a barn, and I haven't had a full night's sleep in days. None of us have. I'm dropping weight quickly. And until today I've been doing all this with a cold, which worked out to my advantage, because it lowered my voice & forced me to focus harder because I was trying not to faint. Now I'm off to take a cold shower. Thank you and good night!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I find I usually respond nicely to a well-timed slap in the face.

Another thing I've noticed about myself is that my emotions rarely are muddled. If I like someone, I adore them. If I don't like them, I'm grinding my teeth and looking for sharp objects the moment they speak. So it wasn't enough for me to just be nervous about going to Phase. I had to freak out. Mission accomplished.

So many people have been so incredibly generous to me, and I had myself convinced that every mistake I made was clear evidence that I was going to let them all down and that they would respond by locking me in the studio and burning it to the ground.

I saw The General in the Box today & he asked me how I was doing. I told him I was a wreck, and told him why. God bless him. He looked at me like he'd just caught me eating a cockroach and said, "That's stupid."

And I felt so much better!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Yesterday was a whipping, and it made me so happy. I started the morning with the Gentleman, working the heavy bag, doing tortuous drills forbidden by the Geneva Convention, & teaching when he's got me exhausted. We did this one exercise that was interesting: to help me learn to focus & to not be distracted, he had me hit the heavy bag non-stop while he is 1) striking me continuously, not hard enough to really hurt, but just hurt a little & jar my body enough so that I can't comfortably strike the bag because I have to continually reset my body 2) yelling "sprawl!", & I have to sprawl & come up with a combo #4, then go back immediately to whatever strike I'm assigned, and 3) he bear hugs me & either drags me away from the bag or flings me aside like I'm a rag doll. Yes, he is strong enough to do that. My job is just to ignore him & keep hitting the bag no matter what. After an hour of this I ran home to eat & shower & come right back for round 2:

A session with the Gorgeous Bastard. I show up & he asks, "Hi, how are you?" I answer, "I'm tired, sore, and I don't want to be here or do this. So its perfect, because that's what I was hoping for. Let's do this." He put me against the wall & started punching me, making me fight to get off the wall. After he got tired of being kicked in the balls we went to ground work. Started each round from mount, side mount, & guard. Fight him off. Work buck & roll. He made me punch him in the face & head, which I have a huge problem with, particularly with him. In fact, I believe that the day I can punch GB in the face & not get upset, I can punch anybody. That day is closer, but its evidently not here yet. We didn't work krav "techniques", aside from buck & roll, so much as just go at it. Hard.

I've done a session with the Professor like this as well, and I value these lessons very much, & I intend to do them as often as I can, adding the Gentleman & whoever else I can get to add to the mix. Well, not "whoever", but guys I know well & trust completely, because we're going hard. I find that I learn things I can apply to krav, such as when they clinch me hard & start flinging me around or dragging me someplace, I have found I rarely have the upper body strength to get them off me, and I exhaust myself trying. So now my knee has started to automatically come up for groin kicks, and that seems to be working nicely. Mmmm, I'm not saying that right. I mean to express that the ability to automatically react aggressively & just attack instead of thinking about what I "should" be doing is what's helping me in krav. This quality seems, for me, to be more readily cultivated in these bang-bang-bang sessions, than in sessions that focus more on mastering technique, or even in sparring.

Also, if you plan to do this sort of lesson, its important to think objectively about where you need to grow, & pick the right instructor to address that need. For instance, The Gentleman will attack me very hard & if I mess up he won't stop, he just keeps attacking, yelling, "Fight, Miss Parker, fight!!". I'm sure the other guys are willing to go harder with me, but the Gentleman just does it all the time.

The Professor, as a devotee of BJJ, is more interested in what he calls "flow". He keeps me always moving, teaching me strategy, showing me how to find & exploit openings I never would have found on my own. Also, because he's not a kravver, he moves his body differently, which gives me something new to have to address.

The Gorgeous Bastard uses his size against me (at my request). Even though I trust him completely, when he comes at me I still feel a little flash of fear, a total lizard brain response. So I use all my weapons against him, but he primarily just uses muscle against me, which helps me learn to struggle against an impossibly stronger opponent & face that automatic fear head on & causes me to fight dirty automatically.

What I'm observing in myself is this:

Bad: a tendency to ball up if I'm hurt, an extreme dislike for punching people I care about in the face with the attendant hesitancy to do it, a tendency to back up if I'm scared, a habit of getting myself stuck in triangle chokes, and I squeak & squeal a lot when I'm exerting myself.

Good: a natural inclination to fight dirty, particularly punches & kicks to the groin & a complete willingness to grab a guy's "package" & rip it off his body (even my friends that I can't punch in the face), a strong tendency to bite anything close to my mouth, to scratch/dig the eyes, a natural movement toward headbutting & attacking the throat. I have also found on several occasions that if a guy has me pinned while we're on the ground, if I shove my thumb quickly & very hard up his ass, he freaks out, loosens up, & I get a convenient opening to attack him. I also have found that I do not give up, at least not so far, which has been a huge relief.

Interestingly, I notice that when you're exhausted your body just does things that your brain might not have considered. For instance, when The Gentleman had me on the heavy bag, once when I was very tired he grabbed me & started to drag me away & I quickly wrapped my arms around the bag & held on for dear life. He laughed & went back to punching me. Same with groin kicks/knees instead of trying to simply wriggle out of hard clinches. Your body wants to do what works, if your brain can just shut up long enough to let it go to work.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


My life is kind of consumed right now with getting ready for Phase.

If I'm just sitting around thinking about it I start to get really scared & ill, but if I work out & practice that goes away. Which is good, because they've got me on a killer schedule. 3 private lessons per week (each one a total freaking beat down) with the Gentleman, 3 bag classes per week, 2 level 1 classes as a student per week. Also, tomorrow after my private with the Gentleman I have a private with the Gorgeous Bastard, to take yet another beating. This in addition to 2 teacher training sessions per week & assisting in 3 level 1 classes. I think I'll be ready, but everyone keeps feeding me stories of how I'm going to wish I had staked myself to an ant hill instead of going through Phase. "But you'll be fine.." They always end with that one. And the sympathetic smile. Oh, jeez.

Today in the noon level 1/2 class (that's "one-two", not "half") I taught choke from the front with a push, and it was not that good. I didn't make the little basket on the dynamic demonstration, though I told everyone else to do it, and on dry work I ran them through it with a series of "go's", instead of numbering their movements & I just confused them.

So the Pen & I worked on that with GB in teacher training & when the Dragon asked what I wanted to teach in class I said, "Choke from the front with a push, I need to redeem myself." And I did! It went perfectly. Whew!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bad girl!

The consensus is that I need to get in shape. I used to take 3 level 1 classes a week, but now that I'm working those classes (okay, 2 classes & taking one level 3/4), I've lost 3 hours per week of hard workout time. So now I'm taking 2 level 1 classes per week, plus 2-3 bag classes, plus The Gentleman is training me in a one-one-one bag class 3 times per week. Oh. My. God.

Last night I took Relentless' bag class. I thought I would die. In fact, when I sat on the floor waiting for MMA, my next class, to begin, one of the guys in the class came up to me & said, "You look like death." I couldn't argue. Hell, to argue I'd still have to possess the capacity for speech, & that was a distant memory.

The Professor, bless him, usually holds pads for me in the beginning of MMA, and towards the end, when I told him I thought I couldn't do anymore he said to me, "Keep going, girl, this is where it makes you strong." Curse him. I kept going. I like it when he calls me "girl" or when my husband calls me "woman", and have no explanation for this.

Then I left, and that's when I did the Bad Thing. I haven't done It in several years, and the last time I did It, I promised myself I'd never do It again. Last night they broke me. I did It. I went through the McDonald's drive-thru.

I got a child's hamburger, a small fries, and a medium Sprite. I ate all the meat, about 25% of the bread (BREAD!), and every molecule of french fry I could harvest from that little white bag. I was cramming those fries into my gob 3 and 4 at a time, then digging around like Charlie Brown looking for a Valentine's card in the mailbox. And that glorious ice cold Sprite (SODA! HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP! OMG!) that stung my tongue and throat with its majestic bubbles - oh! I cannot overstate the pleasure I took in that meal and I probably finished it in under 90 seconds. Truly, a very happy meal.

Then this morning the Gentleman trained me & I sweated it all out again. This morning also marks the 3rd time this week I've taken a hard hit to the face. Happily, my nose & teeth are still intact, though my teeth barely made it this morning. Duh, mouthpieces exist for a reason...

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Lovely Day

Last Saturday while I was helping to plan an unrealized obstacle course (this means I was writing down what I was told to write) The General sauntered in & gave me a self defense technique to break down & teach the bits of, like, right now. I do mean he sauntered, too. The General is forever pushing me off the cliff with one hand and catching me with the other. Turned out well, he said it was good, though thanks to New York E's video I am very much aware that when I'm thinking about how to do a demonstration while I'm doing it, its not truly as dynamic as it needs to be. Still, its getting better... at least none of the students yelled "That's not how you do it! Fraud!". Hmm, I seem to be lowering my standards...

After class I helped Mighty Mouse teach a ladies self defense seminar. As I've said before, Mighty Mouse really is mighty. She should work for the Secret Service or something. When she demonstrates knees & stops to explain something she still holds you down with her whole weight on you. Clearly this is what I need to be doing. I can tell you after this experience, even tiny little people you can carry around in your pocket are heavy. This is good, because I want to be heavy, too!

We had lots of first time ladies, very nice ladies with nice shoes and hair. Very polite. They giggled when Mighty Mouse told them if they're attacked they have to fight like an animal. I hope some of them come train with us. One person (I'm not sayin' who) told me she "already knew" some of this stuff because she took a bag class, once, a year ago. I wanted to pinch her. I've been doing this stuff for two years, obsessively, & still don't feel like I "know" it. But everybody was a good sport & really tried, and you can't ask for more than that. We worked palm heels, groin kicks, knees, bear hugs, & choke from the front with a 2 handed pluck. Mighty Mouse had them pick each other up, bear hug style, then try to pick each other up while the pick-ee was basing out hard. A few of the ladies had back issues so I ran around picking up their partners, which was great fun for some strange reason. I think next time it might be a good idea to have handouts with recommended books about self-defense and phone numbers for hotlines and websites for places like Safeplace. Maybe what to expect from the police and/or hospital if they're attacked. Probably most of the ladies would just throw it way, but it might really help someone who needs it.

Anyway, after that we went to Spike's Super Bad Ass Picnic, which was so much fun. We swam and ate jello shots. We did other things, too, but you could just stop right there & still have a great day. The Machine did an amazing job running things. When the Gentleman & I walked up to do clean up duty it was pretty much already spic & span & Jackie told me the Machine had already decided it was clean up time & everyone had better get the hell out of the way. That's a good thing, by the way. It was a beautiful day from top to bottom & I am going to miss Spike so much its giving me an actual little pain "center mass", as we say. I don't like it when people go away.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ed gave me the dvd, bless him, and what an eye-opener. The good news is I look really comfortable & confident speaking in front of the group. But physically I'm more confident on knees than on choke from the front with a 1 handed pluck. I'm comfortable talking about it, but not as animated physically, so I need to be more aggressive & my movements need to be larger. No wonder people keep telling me that. I'm still thinking about being correct on the choke instead of just trying to kill my attacker with a giant ball of whoop-ass. What I saw on the tape is not what I am experiencing in my body while I'm doing it, so seeing myself from the outside was a huge help. Now I can fix that because I understand it.
Also, I'm doing this weird circle motion thing with my hands while I'm in fighting stance. GB started making fun of me for it yesterday, but I didn't really get what I was doing. Then when I saw it on film I actually laughed out loud because it looks completely ridiculous. I look like I'm trying to put a spell on The Pen, or like he's a cobra coming out of a basket & I'm trying to mesmerize him. (The Pen is CB's new name, because he's a writer.)

Also, I'm out of shape. It doesn't show up on the film & I don't look any different, but I'm gassing out really quickly when I do bag work, so Big Daddy J has put me on a new training regimen. Ouch. Clearly, I need it, because I'm pooped from yesterday's training, & I used to train like that all the time & feel fine. This pic is of me from my last class of the day, KO Bag. I'm the one who got KO'd!
I look better on the video doing knees because I'm having an absolute blast & love cranking out hard knees, & it shows. So that's what I need to feel when I'm doing everything, which will come with still more practice. It appears that I'm actually not yet perfect. I guess my mom was just kidding.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

So I was a nervous wreck all day yesterday, obsessing over Phase. I can't keep that up, I'll have an ulcer by the time it actually gets here. Then I got to krav for teacher training & CB was feeling exactly the same, which calmed me down. We got to work, with Relentless breaking us down with heavy bag combos, then immediately making us teach something. The 2nd thing I taught was choke from behind with a push, which I don't even really know how to execute, much less know the teaching points for. I don't think I've done it since I was in level 1! Instead of freaking out or being nervous, I just let Relentless & the Gentleman walk me through it, & will be working on that, push from the front, & headlock in a private lesson with Relentless tomorrow.

Next, CB & I assisted in the Dragon's level 1 class, which was huge! 30 people, though it seemed like much more, as they completely filled up the room. I taught knees, which is my favorite thing in the world, and choke from the front with a one-handed pluck. I think I did really well on both of them, but we'll see when the film comes out. New York E. was filming & says he'll burn me a CD.
CB taught round kicks, and considering his legs were shaky from his run earlier, he did well, too. His kicks look strong. CB is so sweet and laid back I wasn't sure if he'd be commanding enough in front of a class, but he's tough up there! Wowee, you just never do know who's got a tiger inside them. I'm so glad he's going to Phase at the same time as me, it'll be a big comfort to have a familiar face around, even though we won't be partnering, I'm sure. He's very tall, he needs a big guy, and I'm sure I'll end up with someone closer to my size, as well.

After that I did a little yoga & a little MMA, couldn't stay for either class for the full time. Mudslide held pads for me in MMA, & is an outstanding partner. He whacked me so hard one time my own "blocking" (ha) hand whacked me right in the eyeball. My blocks got stronger after that.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Top Dawg

You just never know when this martial arts stuff is going to come in handy. The other day I was in my neighbor's front yard, letting their toddler pet my big 60 lb. Australian Shepherd, Raleigh. Raleigh is so peaceful & laid back that his nickname is the Raleigh Lama.

Well, their little yap-yap-rat-dog was tied up about 20 feet away & yapping loudly at us non-stop, like a recording on a loop designed to make us confess to some heinous crime. This is standard behavior for the tiny furball, but this time it was really bugging Raleigh. He started to growl. I was telling the little girl it was time for us to go when the Raleigh Lama suddenly turned into Cujo and the shit hit the fan.

He lunged & went for that little dog so fast I'm not sure it would show up on film. I flew after him & dragged him back, he fought me (the little bastard), & managed to get away, jumped on the little dog again, with the neighbor lady screaming her head off & trying to grab her little dog while I wrestled with Raleigh. Now, in the past couple of years I've been around 2 other dog fights. One where a big dog escaped his leash & attacked Raleigh (who promptly kicked his ass), and the 2nd was two neighbor dogs. Both times I was scared & tried yelling or kicking the dogs to make them stop. Useless. This time I didn't hesitate to jump right on him, & the 2nd time I had Raleigh I quickly mounted him, got him in a rear naked choke, & sank my weight down on him to pin him. When he couldn't get away he started barking at the other dog, really mean dog-swear-words, so I clamped my hand hard around his snout to shut him up. He fought a little bit, wiggling his head, but then just gave up.

The other dog wasn't even hurt, Raleigh was just trying to make a point. But it was while I was reviewing the event for Jackie that I realized how krav & BJJ training has paid off for me! I didn't even think, I just reacted & went straight to what my instructors have had me do in class over & over again. In practice I often have limited (cough) success, but when I needed it, it was there. Yay!

Congratulations to the Gentleman for finishing his Phase B Apprentice Test! You are amazing & I'm extremely proud of you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last night started with the Gorgeous Bastard, level 3/4. Sparring. Translation: me getting hit. I KNOW I should warm up before class, because I'm completely useless for the first 20-30 minutes if I don't, but somehow I always manage to chat with my friends instead of warming up. Then I get hit in the face. Gotta address that. Also I was SO sore from Monday's Bataan Death March - I mean Crossfit - that I could barely get my butt off the floor to kick my attacker during the Get Your Butt Off The Floor & Kick Your Attacker exercise. We also worked with knife attacks, but the absolutely coolest thing that happened was when Miss C, my partner for the evening, advanced & gave me a hard vertical front kick to the center of my chest. This very petite woman literally lifted me COMPLETELY off the floor & sent me flying backward like I was Wylie Coyote & landed me flat on my ass. I mean I was completely airborne. It was freaking awesome! We will now start to replace Chuck Norris with Miss C, as in...Superman has pictures of Miss C on his pajamas...Miss C isn't afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of Miss C...Jesus may be able to walk on water, but Miss C can swim through land...Miss C puts the laughter in manslaughter.

Thank God for yoga to calm me down! We did loooooong stretches & it was soooooo nice. As usual, someone attacked Spike & beat the poo out of him. You can set your watch by that event.

Lastly was MMA with the Professor. Coolest thing: my partner for focus mitt combos was this big guy who was supposed to say, "shoot!" & I would shoot in & pick him up as if to dump him. He said we wouldn't do that because he weighs 215 pounds & I wouldn't be able to pick him up. Sounds like a challenge! But of course I picked him up! When I do pushups I don't push myself up, I push the earth down! So I liked that I could pick him up. That dude better not have been hopping.

Best of luck to: Bam Bam, who has the gnarliest leg wound I've ever had the misfortune to see. I thought about amputating it with my pocketknife to help her out, but she got away.

And Beastie, who literally beat the stuffing out of a heavy bag before my very eyes. I think he'll be doing the same to an opponent in the ring in the very near future.

And The Gentleman, our brilliant star, who is off to his Phase B test this weekend. I feel sorry for the other people there trying to measure up to you!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Left Behind

Well, I wanted to go to Dallas for the John Pascal seminar, but nooooooooo! Parker's not a real instructor yet & gets kicked to the curb! You may have eluded me this time, Pascal, but its not over yet! I'll get you, my pretty!

Kinda worked out though, because I got a chance to teach with the General, which I haven't done in a long time. The General will NOT give me a break, and I'm not kidding. He nails me for everything and anything that's out of order, so I wanted to see what he'd say since its been, I don't know...a couple of months since we've been together? Anyway, he let me teach a lot of level 1, then a lot of the intro class, then we went to lunch with his kids. And he actually said I was good! Woo hoo! I kept waiting for the long list of my screw-ups, but it just never came. He said my dynamic demonstrations should be a little more aggressive, though the knees were good...well, he said I did do one goofy thing. I kneed the hell out of him during the demonstration, then I stepped back & said, "knees!" with a tiny flourish, like a precious little princess with pink unicorn posters in her bedroom. He said he couldn't even look at me because he wanted to laugh. If that's the worst thing he's got to tell me, I've come a long way. I'm feeling very happy right now!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Last night my mother-in-law came with my stepdaughter to watch the level 3/4 class, taught by the Gorgeous Bastard. She'd never seen krav before & wanted to see with her own eyes what I won't shut up about. It was a great class, & she really enjoyed it. My stepdaughter made fun of how my hair was messed up from the head butts & of the funny faces I make when I exert myself. Some things never change. I got to work with Miss C, a rare opportunity for me nowadays, but was surprised to find myself insanely jealous that a new female guest was working with the Gentleman & doing everything very well. New chicks aren't supposed to come into my class & do everything right, especially with my favorite training partners! To make it worse, she was a nice person, and quite lovely. How miserable!

Next was yoga, this class is always full now, and there are always new faces, which is nice. We did balancing poses & handstands. I have been very paranoid about handstands, as its handstand pushups that caused my shoulder injury & forced me out of training for 2 months, but it was easy & I think I'm not scared any more. I made that handstand my bitch & sent it home cryin'.

After that I did a few rounds on the pads in the Professor's MMA class, but had to go home early, as it was my mother-in-law's last night in Austin. Then, as I was leaving I met up with Le Roi by accident & since I never see him I took the opportunity to interview him for the website. Its a shame I never get to work with him, he seems like he is really on the ball. He also gave me some weightlifting moves to do to increase my strength. I'm not sure how to integrate it into my workout week, though...if it should temporarily take the place of crossfit, or if I should do it in the afternoon on the day of a morning crossfit? On what would have been an off day? I don't want to do anything that will make to too wrecked for krav, but I suppose I could take a handful of Advil & get through it that way. Especially if I bitch a lot about how sore I am, that always helps. I'll ask around, since I work with a bajillion workout experts, I could close my eyes at the studio & throw a rock & it would hit someone who could give me a good answer.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Tourist In My Hometown

Every year my husband rides the MS150 from Houston to Austin, and I work the event as a volunteer. Jackie's uncle David (Jackie is my husband) has multiple sclerosis and so this is a very personal issue for our family. We came down to Houston several days early so Jackie could see some clients, and I took the opportunity to find some krav classes.

Krav Maga Houston had a level 1/2 class on Thursday night, so I jumped in, looking forward to seeing instruction from somebody I'd never seen before, and to finding some fresh ideas to steal! Everybody at the school was very gracious and welcoming to me & my parents, who've never seen a krav class & were curious to watch one. The room was small & the class was huge, which always ramps up the energy in a room. I was chatting with some long-time students who said that since KMH has moved to this location enrollment has skyrocketed. My teacher could have been very scary looking - big muscles, bald head, beautiful 1/4 sleeve tattoos - but he had a big smile for everyone and was very approachable, very nice. We started off with a brief warmup & moved right into focus mitt work. My partner told me it was her first time, but said she takes fitness classes there. I guess they use the focus mitts in those classes, because she knew all the punching combinations & the basics of stance, movement, etc. Actually, she was by far the best first timer I've ever worked with. She was pooped from punching, but she was a tiger anyway, and that's always a fun partner. My mom said you could hear me yelling out combo numbers over the whole class. Surprise, surprise, Parker's mouth strikes again. After we worked various combos we moved on to a basic jab-cross-slip move, then made it jab-cross-slip-cross-hook. A very smooth & natural feeling combination. We worked that for the whole rest of the hour and then did about 45 seconds of non-stop 100% knees each, just to squeeze out that last bit of juice.

I'd like to thank the staff & students at Krav Maga Houston for their very warm welcome, and I very much look forward to training there again as soon as I can. And as for the idea I'll be stealing....we did these wicked little hops in the warmup, I don't remember what they were called so I'll give them an evil name. You squat down like you're in sumo squat with your elbows on your knees & using just your feet & calves you hop up & down in place, maintaining your squat the whole time. Ouch. Get ready, Austin!

If you'd like to visit Krav Maga Houston, check out their website, for all the info you'll need.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Beat You Up Now

Haven't been posting much lately. Just been, you know, living my life. But I can't stop thinking about this great MMA class I had last Thursday. We often roll at the end of class, not for timed rounds, just endlessly until someone finally burns out.

Usually, I tend to pause a lot while we roll, trying to think about what I'm supposed to be doing, asking a lot of questions. Then the other day I watched the Gentleman roll with the Professor. Now, the Gentleman is quite a prodigy in krav, but he doesn't really know what he's doing in MMA. At all. But he didn't let that stop him! He just fought like a demon with a belly full of tequila and a score to settle. He went hard & never stopped thrashing around and trying to get position, even though he didn't know what on earth he'd do with it if he got it. I liked that. I'm sticking my toe in the baby pool and he's doing cannon balls in the deep end. So I thought I'd give that a shot.

So on Thursday the Professor asked if I wanted to roll with him & I said, "Sure!" And off we went. I didn't think about anything or really try to get any submission (as if I could, against the Professor!). I just fought like a wolverine. It was sooooo much more fun that way! Until the Professor took my back & started squeeeezing my waist between his thighs making me scream like I was convinced I was being ripped apart (I was). The more I howled the more he'd giggle & squeeze me again. Villain. Then I rolled with Mudslide & then the Gentleman. Of course they all beat me, I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but it was the most fun I've ever had in MMA. A few things I learned: #1 - I can go a lot longer & harder than I thought I could, which is nice. #2 - When I go hard I howl like I'm giving birth to a walrus. The whole time. #3 - Turning your brain off & letting your body go crazy is good in every which way. I keep having to learn this one over & over, my brain won't shut up. Some day it'll stick, if I don't give up. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Crafty Boy

Relentless again. He has the sleight of hand thing going on. In teacher training yesterday he had me work choke from the front with a 2 handed pluck over & over, insisting that I say it & perform it just right. Then he was on to the Gentleman & I was completely off his radar...or so he led me to believe.

The scribe has mentioned to me that sometimes he's nervous to come to class & I was feeling that way going in to the Gorgeous Bastard's level 3/4 for some reason, so I offered to help out in Relentless' level 1 - well, it was a huge class with loads of new people, so there. Relentless waved me off saying, no, no, this is your night to train, go train. Okay.

About 15 minutes before the end of class he walked into my class looking a bit flustered & said he needed my help after all, the class was just too big. Okay, I'm happy to help. I walked around & made a few corrections & was making light conversation with Relentless by the stereo when he turned his face quickly right into mine & staring daggers into my eyes said, "Choke from the front with a 2 handed pluck teach it right now, NOW!" And he quickly turned off the music & yelled for everyone to take a knee. EEEEEK!

I should have known this was coming. In fact, I did. After last Saturday I told my husband, "Okay, I've taught well twice in a row, Relentless is going to throw me a curve ball & see how I do." I swear to God I said that! And yet I walked straight into the fire like I'd never heard of heat.

And yipee! It went really well. I hit all the teaching points without blabbering endlessly & didn't sound like Little Bo Peep. Cuz I'm teh Big Bad Wolf, baby!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Welcome Wyatt

I got a surprise when I went to the hospital today to meet my new friend. I was excited for Mami K and Big Daddy J, and happy to meet Wyatt, but I am not really a baby person, generally. I never know what to discuss with them.

Not taking into account that it was fairly early on a Sunday, I expected to find other friends there, cutting up & making plans for Wyatt's fight training. We are a raucous group, always laughing and rushing on to the next thing. Instead I found a quiet, tranquil room. The only light filtered gently from the curtained window. Mami K was alone with her son, nursing him. I wasn't sure if I should enter. She let me in.

Wyatt was tightly swaddled and wearing a tiny little hat. Mami K & I chatted a bit. Perhaps in this intimate moment I should have left them to themselves, but somehow I couldn't. I was completely mesmerized. I absolutely couldn't take my eyes off them, even when Big Daddy J came in the room. Like most members of my generation, I can distance myself from just about anything with a clever, smart aleck remark, and often do. But I found myself transfixed because right in front of me I was witnessing something you just don't see every day. Inexhaustible love. I was extremely moved, and unmasked. Now I'm kind of excited to see him again.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday morning

Relentless has been incredibly generous about giving me teaching time in his classroom. So today I taught straight punches to the focus mitts, which I prefer tremendously to striking a tombstone. We also worked advancing punches & low advancing punches, front kicks & choke from the front with a 2 handed pluck.

Let me give you a piece of advice. If you make Relentless mad & you think he's about to hit you, quickly run far away from him. Or fall down and play dead. Or pick up a brick and start bashing yourself in the head with it, because that will be less of a beat down than Relentless will give you. In my naivete I agreed to demonstrate an absorption drill with him striking me with the mitts until it was time for my straight punches. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. That boy beat me like maybe if he just hit me hard enough he was gonna cure cancer. Sometimes when people hit me hard I get the urge to hit them back. When Relentless hits me I get the urge to go tell my mom!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sweet Redemption

Yes, I agree, its revenge that is truly sweet, but redemption is nice, too. I had a little talkie with myself about my performance & my attitude. I reminded myself again that if I'm not enjoying myself in krav there's no point in doing it & basically gave myself permission to not be such a serious sourpuss. So I went in today & assisted Relentless & just said, "Damn the torpedoes, I'm jumping in with both feet". So I did. And it was fun! And I did much, much better. Fancy that.

We also had teacher training today, with the Gorgeous Bastard, which is always fun, except he made me stand there expressionless again, without moving, to get my review of my performance. I would take more pleasure in having my head shaved & being plunged into ice water. Asking me to not be animated is like asking me not to eat ice cream. There is just no realistic way to achieve that.

Next hour was MMA with Mudslide. I partnered with the Gentleman. I tell you, if I could spar or roll with the Gentleman while eating ice cream, the world would be a perfect place. We shrimped to get out of mount & did reversals, then rolled. I also got to roll with the Professor, which was just the bow on the package. Having MMA at the end of the night is like having your favorite dessert at the end of a good meal. Perfection. Can you tell I'm hungry?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Quite an eye-opener tonight. I'm writing these little staff bios for the new Fit and Fearless website & I was interviewing Dr. J tonight after she taught yoga. She has really got it together, very insightful. She absolutely made the light bulb switch on in my head, even though we were talking about something a little different. She was telling me how yoga forces you to pay attention to just this moment to progress, & I realized that's been my problem lately in krav. You see, I'm progressing quickly in Crossfit & MMA - because I don't really care about them. I want to do well in whatever I'm doing at that moment, but past that I don't care - there's no agenda for "how I should be doing". I'm just having fun, really. But in krav I have a huge agenda, a definite idea of how I should be doing, and am very tied to the outcome. And you know what, I haven't had real fun in quite a while. And you know what else, I'm not progressing. The truth is, I'm regressing. My skills in both technique and teaching have been getting steadily just a little bit worse instead of continually just a little bit better, and that's just no fun at all. Mami K said to me a few weeks ago, "Who cares how long it takes? Just work on what you need to work on, who cares if it takes a year?" I thought that was a terrible idea! Turns out she was right. I think I'm going to stop worrying about how I'm doing & just have fun again. I hope I get to pass my teacher training test, but for now I just have to let that go and learn to enjoy myself again, both in training and teaching. To just GO. If I can't do that, then what the hell am I doing here?

Seeing Things

Oh, now I know why so many people hate the holidays! Yesterday in Ladies Crossfit we did the 12 Days of Christmas. It was my first time, and oh, my dear ones, it was hard. In a good way. I noticed that at first it was just like in krav - I'm very slow & uncoordinated, my moves are a bit awkward & tentative. But once I got cranked up I was burning like a house on fire, baby. About a third of the way through I start to feel a groove, even though its an effort to perform well, my brain shifts into another gear & my body takes over. I think that's one of the keys to why we keep coming back to this stuff over and over. Its like extreme anger/aggression or great sex or a particularly delicious meal. Your brain shuts down and your body takes over and you're 100% in the moment. Total lizard brain. By the end my body was shaking as I was trying to perform the moves, but I wouldn't let it slow down. Its funny what'll pop into your head. I could actually see (in my head) The Professor looking at me and saying, "Come on, girl", just like he does in real life when I start to fatigue. And then, The General, alternately barking at me to keep going & smiling at me encouragingly. I don't remember what he "said", I just remember I didn't want to fail in front of him, so I sped up. I have a pretty vivid imagination & it really helps sometimes! Also, I was actually talking to myself out loud, softly, "Keep going, you can do it..." And I did it. I came in with the best time, using good form, even though I was practically hallucinating from pushing myself so hard. I think I'm getting stronger.

I came back later that evening & taught my very first class on my own, a Fighting Fitness class. It was fun & I want to do it again. Its shadowboxing with little hand weights for 2 minute rounds, with "rest" rounds between each. Rest rounds consist of pushups, mountain climbers, crunches, etc. Its pretty exhausting, for the students, I mean. I was a little nervous before class, but it was good. The students seemed to be having a good time and they were working hard, which I always appreciate.

In case you ever wondered if all this training is really useful, here is a picture of me levitating. You're not gonna learn to do that down at your regular gym, folks! Krav rocks.
You may sometimes see me taking pictures in class. If you want to see if you're in a photo, go to Look in the sets to find the most likely spot where you'd be: mma, krav, yoga, or crossfit. Feel free to download yourself!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Engulfed in Flames

Mayday! Mayday! Parker's down! She's burning! Ooooh...yes, she's toast.
Taught hammerfist today in Relentless' level 1 class. Unsure of how to reconcile the 3 first time students need for greater instruction with the more advanced students need to get working, I decided the solution was to talk too long. And I did that very well. Talked less on side hammerfist, even less on knees. Hooray. Then I "taught" defense against choke from the side. My attacker, a large student, was shoving me sideways on the attack & instead of stopping & telling him to please not push, I defended anyway - failed to get the pluck! - and kept fighting him off. Badly. A match was struck & I started to smell gasoline. Then I gave a beautifully unclear explanation of the technique, moved them on to drywork, which kind of looked like a spastic dance-off. My clothes started smoking. I let them get to work and I don't know what the hell they were doing, and I definitely don't know what the hell I was doing, but I was clearly going down in flames. The funny thing is, a student came up behind me to ask me a question after class in the lobby & heard me telling Miss C what I'd just done & he said, "You know what, I'm a teacher & you need to understand that things look very different to your audience than they do from your perspective. We thought you were doing great." I am now engaged to be married to this man. HA, good thing my husband isn't reading this...

Anyway, that took a bit of the sting out of it, and I'll be working on that technique next week in teacher training. A lot.

2nd hour was The Gentleman's bag class. This class is awesome. Crossfit is really starting to pay off, I can feel myself getting stronger & having more endurance, and being more willing and able to push through exhaustion. I take back all the stuff I said about Crossfit, its making a huge difference for the better in my training.

3rd hour, MMA, worked with Strongirl again (yay!). We worked some of those weird, complicated BJJ moves from the guard where you're reversing people and yanking on them, and doing super secret sneaky moves. Stuff that looks really complicated, until you realize it makes perfect sense, but then you can't explain it at all, you can only do it. We did that stuff.

4th hour, just worked one-on-one with The Professor, working on patching up holes in my game, building aggression in my moves, working the focus mitts, sprawling against his takedowns, fighting off his clinches. That boy is strong. Then just a little more groundwork, learned how to give the world's coolest beatdown while I have someone trapped in my guard, then a most excellent armbar. Mostly it was just bang bang bang for an hour, the kind of workout I live for. I just get so happy and excited after training like that, I want to jump around like a puppy, by mostly I just have to lay on the ground, sweating and panting. Its so good good good!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yesterday & Today

Sorry I've not been posting, I've been ill for several days & not attending class. Now its all good, though...

Last night started out with teacher training with the Gorgeous Bastard. He said he's going to be doing all the Thursday teacher training sessions from now on. You don't hear me complaining. Except that he made me teach straight punches using no words whatsoever, then he made me stand there & get my reviews from my classmates without allowing me to speak at all or show any kind of facial expression. I thought I would explode. Then Spike taught me how to make a snake with my hands and I felt all better.

Next hour was assistant teaching with Detention. A big class! Again he started class with straight punches. A good idea for me to steal, I think. I taught choke from the front with a 2 handed pluck, but we didn't really have time to work it much, because we spent a lot of time working the focus mitts & doing drills. I got to demonstrate the drill on the mitts, too. I just love beating the crap out of those things.

Next was Mudslide's Ladies MMA class. I partnered with Strongirl, thank God! She is a good sport when I do poorly, and a good opponent when I do well. And when I just really don't want to do something, I tend to do it poorly. For instance, I hate takedowns. My little skinny neck always whips back when I slam down onto my back if its me being taken down, & I always worry about going too hard for my partner if I'm taking them down. I don't want to do it, consequently I do it very poorly, and therefore I don't want to do it. You see how that works? Its pretty much that way with everything I tend to suck at - I just don't want to do it, so my body is trying, but everything in me is resisting. Gotta fix that.

Now I used to not want to do Crossfit, but once I realized it was going to help me be a better kravver, I jumped on board & started to do well. You see there, this stuff is all in your head.
Today we did, um...all this crazy hard stuff. Jumping on tires and pushups & sumo squat things, and wall ball death dealers & the beastly lean back ab attack. I don't know the names of these things, I just know how to kick their ass! I love it when Scarlet comes to class, we're constantly out to beat each other - cheering each other on, but screaming TIME like our lives are at stake when we're done. Spike & this student who is still unnamed were in there, too, with other students from the Marines officer candidate school. Spike & my student are gonna wipe the floor with those boys, that's what I'm saying! Mami K took pictures, I'll add some later if they came out. Bye!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

At Least I Got It On A Platter

Mmmm, thursdays. First hour teacher training. Mami K had us teach whatever she told us to & then give her a drill for the same technique. I cheated & gave a drill we all know but haven't seen in a while, clearly I need to learn how to create drills. Its on the list!

2nd hour, assisting Detention in level 1, his classes are so much fun. I think I have the best schedule ever. Lets see, palm heels, round and straight knees, then, God help them, 360 defenses. These are still quite painful for me, but not as much as they once were, and those students were suffering, baby! Even I have a giant black knot on my wrist, though I don't remember how I got it, which is refreshing. I usually like to relive every excruciating instant of the strike. Jeez, if only I was kidding about that.

3rd hour, MMA, with Mudslide. I was a little skittish about jumping in for a big workout after my festival of vomit a couple of days ago, so I filmed the guys working until I couldn't take it anymore & dragged a guy out of the lobby to hold pads for me. We worked together until sparring time, but he's new & has no gear so he left & I went back to filming until I spoke the words that sealed my doom: "Beastie, will you go a round with me & Mudslide can film it?" Those words rank right up there with "Let's besiege the Alamo".

Sweet Beastie is hyooooge and a very accomplished MMA fighter, so even though I knew he would destroy me, he also has the best control in the room, so I knew he wouldn't injure me.

My left leg is still tingling from his kicks and its been over an hour. I have never been punched & kicked so much and so hard, with so little effort from my opponent. That's hard by my standards, not his. He was absolutely taking it easy on me, but I still felt like he'd dragged me down to the laundromat & thrown me in the dryer with a bunch of rocks. Sigh. I watched myself on film & was shocked at how stiff I looked! I would list all the things I did wrong, but you don't have time.

I will encapsulate it for you. Worst comment by Mudslide, "You're supposed to lead with your jab. Instead you lead with your face and that's why you get hit so much!"

Best comment by Beastie, "That was really fucking good, Parker! I was pounding you and you just kept coming back for more, I couldn't believe it!"

Yeah, ha ha, I couldn't believe it either! Seeing yourself on film is really eye-opening, I hope we do it more because just seeing myself that one time is going to be a huge help. More, please.