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!