Monday, July 21, 2014

Spicy sesame noodles, for Bobby :)

I made these for the academy potluck which was held immediately following the big promotion... wow, they turned out really good and super easy.  You can make them more or less spicy as you like, and adding more veggies or some shrimp or chicken would make this a full meal.  Original recipe (before my alterations) and photos found here.

TPW_1367

16 ounces noodles (I used spaghetti noodles) cooked and drained
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
8 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 tablespoons rice vinegar depending on your taste
6 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot chili oil or more...
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (or other sauce, like sambal oelek)
6 tablespoons canola oil
8 whole green onions, sliced thinly
1 each red, yellow, green bell peppers, seeded and diced (can substitute or add pea pods, celery, carrot, water chestnut, sliced almonds, cooked, peeled shrimp, etc.)

Preparation Instructions

Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.

I poured some chili oil and canola oil on the noodles and stirred well, leaving it sit in the serving bowl for about 3 hours before the meal was served.

Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat, immediately before serving.

Sprinkle with add ons and toss.

Serve in a bowl with chopsticks. Yummy!

TPW_1363

Monday, July 14, 2014

Faixa Roxa 7.12.14

I started training jiu jitsu inadvertently, because I began training in kajukenbo before I got married in the spring of 2008 and jiu jitsu and judo were part of the curriculum.  (I learned sort of a triangle, and the rudest closed guard break ever, the one where you dig your elbows into the meat of their inner thigh, but the knee-cut part of that pass was part of my bread-and-butter for years.)  I was off and on with kajukenbo because, after all, I was planning a wedding and the reception was at our house.


But in June I started training for about 3 weeks with William Vandry, a Machado bb here in Austin.  Then I went on my honeymoon, and came back in July, had an ugly interaction with him, and left his school.

I started training at the Relson Gracie school under Phil Cardella and Christy Thomas in August 2008.  Got my blue from Relson in January 2009.

And July 12, 2014, I got my purple from Paulo "Coelho" Brandao, 5th degree under Royler, and Donald Park, also a Royler bb.  :)


I won't even try to list everyone I'm grateful to.  That would be insane-- every single person I've watched, trained with, talked to about jiu jitsu has taught me something.  But special mention goes, of course, to certain folks who have had more influence than others....




My instructors-- left to right, top then bottom-- Donald (make every rep your best), Paulo ("Red hair!"), Jordan "Wristlocks" and the "Jordan Pretzel" Silverman, Jim "Captain America" Shipman, and Tim Kennedy (he of the patriotic singlet)... I'm lucky to have you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Also past instructors Phil and Christy and Richard Giberson and Josh Lauber at Relson's, all my foundational stuff is because of you, and Richard Power and Kirk Smith... super influential!

Henry Akins (HUGE!) Darren "Keebler" "C-L-E" Branch. Hillary Williams, Marcelo Garcia, Bernardo Faria, Emily Kwok, Val Worthington, Ryan Hall, John Ouano, James Valentine, Charlie Liu, Sophia McDermott Drysdale, Sonny Nohara, Alvis Solis, Griff Sombke...

Robert Reed and Tom Krausz for getting me into this crazy business...  past and present teammates: Scott Reis, Courtney Fuqua, Rebecca Varady, Dan Dau, Vidush Rana, Roy Olivarez, Scott Reed, Marc Morales, Anthony Rodriguez, Doug Connolly, Ivelin Ivanov, Zade Samuels...

Friends at other schools (brothers from another mother/sisters from another mister):  Devlin Kostal (where are you!), Andrew Leftt, Aparna Modi, Chuck Hardin, Sam Browning, Chrissy Linzy, Elyse Goldberg, Julia Johansen, Peter Sanchez, Tara Talanco Varon, Kat Harrison, Mike Calimbas, Mike Donovan...

And my sponsors, Steve Turner at Black Eagle, Christopher Lane at Happy Kimonos, Matt Kirtley at Scramble, Mike Ripberger at MMAOutlet, Justin Garcia at Rough Zen/Jungle Gym, Neal Fletcher at Bullshido, Vanessa Bush at SubMISSion, ..

You've all supported me and made beautiful marks on the paper of my jiu jitsu life.   Which is an enormous and precious majority of my real life, and my dream life.  THANK YOU.

Cheers to the rest of the journey! 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Advice for people training jiu jitsu about when it's paranoia and when it's not....

I received an incredibly disturbing email telling me a story about a relationship in an academy.  It went something like this.

Whitebelt meets brownbelt.  Brownbelt (BB) helps whitebelt (WB).  BB crushes on WB, asks WB for a romantic relationship even though BB is already committed elsewhere.  WB says no, let's be friends.  BB tells WB at one point in TKD as a teenager, they intentionally hurt a person they trained with "on accident" because that person wouldn't date them.

Later on, BB tells their mate that they're in a relationship with WB (not true) and BB's mate attacks WB verbally at the academy.  Instructor gets involved, tells mate to stop.  WB no longer trains with BB.  But now BB hurts WB's friends when they train with BB.

Should WB tell their instructor or does it make them look paranoid???


TELL THE INSTRUCTOR!!!!

hell, tell the cops.  Please.  Save your poor teammates who wander around with sore arms, ankles, shoulders, knees and wonder what got into that BB.

I don't know what else to do.  Advice???

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Nick Schultz trial update

I will add to this post as I obtain more information next week:

Just checked on the DC Courts website and here's what I see.

A few explanations: I don't have contact with the misdemeanor prosecutors so I can't ask questions yet (it's Sunday folks) but I will try.  A dismissal by Praecipe is new to me.  Google tells me it's basically a motion to dismiss.  Looks like there was a motion to dismiss based on Double Jeopardy filed by the defense on June 9, then a motion to hurry things up by the defense June 11 (I'll get copies of these)... then the state dismissed a charge or two (filed the motion on the 26th and the court acted on it, same day, not sure but it looks like two charges were dismissed)... Had a jury trial that day (not uncommon to handle some charges with a motion to dismiss and then move forwards into the trial phase on the same day) and looks like he got a not-guilty from a jury.

I don't know what more to tell you.  The last entry (top of the list) is confusing to me, I don't know why there would be a "non jury trial" scheduled in relationship with this case, unless it means there was one more charge hanging around, which was separate from what got tried on June 26, but it, too, was dismissed by the prosecutor (that's what "nolle" refers to... a "nolle prosequi".)

Also sorry it's so light, I copied and pasted into a word document first to narrow the boxes so it would fit and I don't know how to quickly/efficiently change the text color, so please, forgive me.

Docket Date
Description
Messages
06/26/2014
Event Resulted - Release Status:
Event Resulted - Release Status:
The following event: Non-Jury Trial scheduled for 07/09/2014 at 9:30 am has been resulted as follows:

Result: Dismissed - Nolle
Judge: BUSH, ZOE Location: Courtroom 210
06/26/2014
Case Disposed - Jury Trial Not Guilty
Case Disposed - Jury Trial Not Guilty
06/26/2014
Charge Disposed - Dismissed
Charge Disposed - Dismissed
06/26/2014
Charge Disposed - Dismissed
Charge Disposed - Dismissed
06/26/2014
Praecipe Dismissal Filed
Government's Dismissal By Praecipe
Attorney: MACHEN, Mr RONALD C (447889)
06/11/2014
Order Entered on the Docket
Order Entered on the Docket-The Court directs the Government to file a Response to the Defendant¿s Demand for Jury Trial within fourteen days (14) of the issuance of this order. Signed in chambers on June 11, 2014, by Judge Zoe Bush. Copies emailed and mailed to parties. JLT.
06/11/2014
Order Entered on the Docket
Order Entered on the Docket-The Court directs the Government to file a Response to the Defendant¿s Motion to Dismiss for Violations of the Double Jeopardy and Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment within fourteen days (14) of the issuance of this order. Signed in chambers June 11, 2014, by Judge Zoe Bush. Copies emailed and mailed to parties. JLT.
06/09/2014
Motion to Dismiss Filed:
Motion to Dismiss for Violations of the Double Jeopardy and Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment and Memorandum and Points and Authority in Support Filed:
Attorney: GARDNER, GREY A (502108)
06/09/2014
Motion Filed:
Defendant's Demand for Jury Trial and Supporting Points and Authorities Filed:
Attorney: GARDNER, GREY A (502108)

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Bulging disc...

Xrays show long term degenerative changes in my cervical spine unrelated to BJJ... MRI shows a bulging disc impinging on my spinal cord at C5/6.  I had an epidural cortisone injection last Friday which helped with the pain, but the neuro symptoms are way worse (my arm is often painfully tingly, feels like I've grabbed an electric fence, and sometimes it hurts in my forearm, lats, and fingers).  I will go back to the doctor asap next week, and I'm considering spinal fusion surgery.  Would be interested in hearing peoples' experiences with neck injuries....

Anyway, that's why I'm not blogging.  It just hurts to have my right arm in a typing position, and I have to type all day every day for work, so there's little to none left for ya'll right now, I'm sorry :(

Monday, June 02, 2014

Raising my own consciousness

I read a good article on Slate titled "Why It's So Hard for Men to See Misogyny."  The author Amanda Hess's thesis was that men were surprised by #YesAllWomen because men don't see what women experience.

Well.... haha.  I've been thinking about various life experiences, both remote and recent, and I realized I don't see what I experience.  Better phrased, I do not realize the misogyny I am experiencing for what it is.

There's a story of a sort which says, if you take a frog and toss him in a pot of hot water, he'll hop right back out.  But if you put him in a pot of cold water and gradually turn up the heat, he'll stay there and be boiled to death.

I am that poor dumb frog, so inured to "that's how things are" that I don't see them and don't react to them.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I spent six months backpacking in central America.  On a dive trip in Belize, I ran across an older gentleman from Croatia who invited me to look him up if I ever made it to that country. I am an inveterate collector of possible couches to surf, so we exchanged addresses and I thought nothing more of it.  However, for several years after that, I received a postcard or two every year inviting me, in pretty-good-but-not-fluent-English, to share "sexy time" with him because of various appealing features of my physical person.

As another example, from much more recently so I'll tone down the level of detail.  Suffice to say I had a relatively brief conversation with a guy via social media who was persistent about ignoring my disinterest.  It involved a steadfast refusal to take my "No thanks, I don't really drink" to mean anything other than "No thanks" when instead he heard "Please keep trying because eventually I'll be worn down into saying yes."

It's common knowledge that women more frequently speak in a hesitant, hedging, less-assertive manner than men (some reading here, and here, and here and here.)  When guy friends became aware of these postcards or similar invitations,  they absolutely hounded me for having invited such skeeviness and for failing to cut him off at the knees.  So I internalized that and always wondered what was wrong with me, what inappropriate vibe I communicated that "invited skeeviness."   What was wrong with me that I felt uncomfortable telling guys that I was just plain not interested in no uncertain terms.  Because truthfully that's what it was-- I doubted myself.  What if I was wrong, what if they only meant to be kind, and if they did mean "sexy" time, what if they thought I was being a bitch, wasn't it easier to just softpedal a denial into something nonoffensive.

Why do women care so much more about being "NICE" at the cost of being clear and protecting boundaries which are quite reasonable?

While I have been reading about this subject, I found a blog post called "Cloudy with a Chance of Rape" discussing this issue in context of the story in Twilight.  Now before you judge, let me add: I never read the books, never saw it, plan on avoiding either with all my heart.  With that said, I encourage you to read this lady Ana Mardoll's thoughts, a few of which I'm excerpting here, with my emphasis added (and some comments of mine, in brackets, about how this applies to my situation):

"Mike chooses to do these things. Bella isn't responsible for Mike's actions. She's not responsible for "leading him on" or "providing him an opportunity". Mike is fully motivated and capable of making his own opportunities regardless of what Bella does, and there is little-to-nothing that Bella can do to stop him given their current situation. I know these things, but I still have to remind myself of them, over and over, to combat that internal ugh, what are you doing Bella voice. That scares me a little.

The siren call of victim-blaming is that if we do everything just right, if we're really smart and savvy and clever, then we can't be victims. If we play strong defense and maintain a good offense and deny access and All The Sports Metaphors, then we'll be safe from the victimizers. Or -- even if we can't ever truly be safe from the victimizers -- we can at least be safe from the second-victimization that comes when society blames us and the justice system fails us. If we're absolutely perfect all the time in our rape defenses, then we'll have gained a measure of safety.

Reality doesn't match the sales pitch. Everything that Bella does here makes perfect sense, given her circumstances. She has every conceivable reason to try to maintain a friendship with Mike [Georgette has every reason to try to maintain friendships with these guys-- similar interests, possible resources for future travel or learning, and distance that makes them feel "safer"]. She has every conceivable pressure to keep her from effectively estranging Mike. Society absolutely would not back her up if she effectively and assertively estranged him here and now, simply based on all the bad behavior he has exhibited towards her in the past. That is how prevalent rape culture is: that so many people can look at Mike Newton and not see a budding sexual predator who consistently and deliberately crosses social boundaries in an attempt to assert power over Bella. [that so many people can look at a guy inviting a gal to come to his home for sexy time as just the way of the world, what do you expect, it's human nature, even though they hardly know each other, are of disparate demographics, and share no real relationship... what's wrong with a guy being persistent about inviting a lady to have a drink, she's attractive, you know she'd pitch a fit if she wasn't ever invited out by a guy, she wants it both ways, women have to expect that Alpha males will be persistent, that's what women want...]  Every time we've seen Mike on-page, he's crossed a major social boundary in an attempt to mark Bella as his. And yet this gets played up as nothing, as a sign of Bella's attractiveness, or as a point about sweet, nice, awkward high school boys (in contrast to Edward's brooding, violent maturity)."

Just a few thoughts.  I'll probably have more.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Worm Guard

If you haven't already, you really must clear your calendar and watch everything BJJScout posts on his site.

BUT... his latest series of additions just came to my attention.  And the crowning jewel (for me so far, I haven't watched them all yet) is the breakdown of Keenan Cornelius' new guard, the Worm guard

It's nasty.  Watch it.  Sexy, no?  My idiot bluebelt self concurs this could be a huge development in sport BJJ.

I'm so mad I promised I wouldn't train a whole month.  (I had that injury, April 20.  Was feeling better.  Went out to Seattle which is a "whole nother" story in itself that I promise I'll tell.. anyway I was in Seattle for a week mid-May, and look, how can you go somewhere new with lots of friends who train and not train?  So like a dingdong, I trained 4 days in a row, nothing hard or crazy, but it aggravated things.)  A whole month means June 15...

But I wanna be trying this NOW.  In part because I liked the Scout's breakdown of Michelle Nicolini's shin/spider guard so much I'm trying to make it my own.. and the Worm works with that.  Here's part one of his Nicolini analysis.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

So much sexism, so much male entitlement...

I begin this post with a confession and an apology; towards the end, a repost of some scary shit from Ronda Rousey's mom about martial arts and sexual abuse.

I Facebook way, way more than I blog.  I'm sorry-- it's just infinitely easier.  I have my phone with me all the time and it's just sooooo easy to share on my wall and come back later to discover the fantastic debates.

I used to blog A LOT, but... well... like I said to my best friend the other day... Everything I want to talk about is too important to say in public.

I want to amend that a bit... everything I want to talk about is either too important to me personally to put out there in a public forum (like, how I feel about training, my academy, my personal life, etc) OR it's too important to give it short shrift.

And lately (ha, the last six months? last year?) I just have been prioritizing a bunch of very time consuming and energy consuming things to the extent that I had little left for the kind of methodical, thoughtful exposition I'd want to put my name on.  After all Facebook is fine for dump and run, but the blog is the place for real journalism, expression of opinion, etc.  Plus, towards the end of April while Slideyfoot was here visiting again, I suffered what initially seemed a mild training mishap, and has turned out to be the tip of the iceberg revealing a longstanding degenerative issue in my neck.  (Basically, I got accidentally cranked during a good training partner's attempt to do a negative pass of my halfguard, and what seemed to be a sore shoulder and pinched radial nerve is actually a bulging cervical disc and pinched nerve way up in there.  And my neck is on backwards, and I'm growing disgusting bone spurs all over my neck that look like a stegosaurus origami.)  So typing and mouse usage has been excruciating, and I *have* to do that all day at my real job.  So my fake job (here) again suffered.

In the last six months, I have had six family members or VERY close friends die.  It's sucked.  But, anyway...

I think my "journalistic" focus has broadened quite a bit from "wow, I can't believe what an asshole Lloyd Irvin is" to the shocked and horrified and motivating discovery of the depth and breadth of rape culture and misogyny in the world.  In fact I feel like that's becoming a bit of a calling for me, and I'm trying to integrate that into my career and bigger picture plans.

If you're not my friend on Facebook, please, friend me.  I'm there allllll the time.  And that's where a lot of my discussions about social issues (of all kinds, not just rapey stuff) happen.

ANYWAY: thanks for listening, I WILL continue to blog as I can.  Reviews, yeah, but I will try to add some thought-out thoughts on all this shit that's in the world.

Scary stuff from Ronda's mom about kids in judo and sex abuse:

published on her blog The Business/Judo of Life //

Recently, I was having a conversation with someone whose stepchild had been a victim of abuse. I was going to suggest martial arts as a means of building self-esteem and learning self-defense ... and then I stopped myself and did not.

Here is why -- because in my 43 years of experience in judo, I have seen a higher proportion of sexual abusers than I have in the general population. I suspect this is also true of other martial arts. Now, it's true that this is only limited to my experience, but in 43 years, traveling around the world, as well as monitoring the news on judo fairly closely, that experience includes a lot of people.

There are a few reasons I think this is true:

  1. In general, people who are seeking to abuse children have to get access to them in some way. Thus, you find more child abuse among people who come into contact with children regularly in settings unsupervised by other adults. To become a teacher at the K-12 level you need to get at least five years of education plus pass a background check, including getting finger printed. To teach martial arts you need to be in a club for a year or two and convince someone to give you a rank. Yes, in some clubs it can take five years or more to get a black belt, but that's not true everywhere. Often, if you show up to class and pay your dues on time you will get promoted. The background check is pretty minimal. The same is also true of many other extracurricular activities like youth sports or dance. 
  2.  In AYSO soccer, my daughter has competed for five years in two different cities and nowhere could you have practice unless there is a female chaperone there.  In contrast, supervision in martial arts programs by other adults tends to be pretty minimal. At our judo program at Gompers Middle School, we cannot have practice without a certified staff member from LAUSD on the mat, but that is an anomaly. I know of dozens of judo programs that have practice with just one adult instructor. Growing up, that was the norm for me.
  3. Situations where a person is in authority - coach, teacher, priest/ minister or parent - not only do they provide an opportunity for abuse but children are often trying to please those people and are often afraid of their authority. Besides, these are the people who children are supposed to be listening to their directions.
To sum it up, you have a setting where physical contact between an adult and a child is allowed, where people with minimal to moderate screening  are in positions where they have unsupervised access to children and are put in a position of authority over them.

On top of all of that, there are certain characteristics that make abuse more likely to occur.  The vast majority of judo instructors are male and over 90% of sexual abuse of females and depending on the study you read, 63-86% of sexual abuse of males occurs with a male perpetrator. 


That is not to say that victims of abuse should not do martial arts, ever. There are people I would trust completely.  Jim Pedro, Sr. , Tony Mojica, Steve & Becky Scott, Karen Mackey - I could give you a list. The point is, all of these are people I have known for years.  I would feel comfortable recommending any one of them INDIVIDUALLY. 

However, I would not feel comfortable recommending judo, or martial arts in general, and since I did not know anyone who lived near this particular family, I caught myself and just expressed sympathy and recommended family therapy.

The reason I wrote this post is that I think people who love martial arts often DO recommend judo, jiujitsu or whatever it is they do as sort of a knee-jerk response, because, after all, it may be great for them. For some children, though, it may be the worst possible thing to do.


And to balance the sad:




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Combat Skin spats and rashguard review


I'm a big fan of the "Combat Warrior" rashie and spats, designed by Meerkatsu and made by Combat Skin.

I'll start by saying I wore the rashguard and spats in a lot of nogi classes as well as under my gi, for a few months.  I had my teammate Joseph wear the spats for pictures just so you could see a different body size and shape.  But then at the end of April I suffered an injury (pinched nerve and bulging cervical disc). This injury made typing and mouse usage really really painful, so every moment I was capable of typing, I had to spend it on my real job.  Fortunately, I'm better enough now to spend a little time on a keyboard for this review (Plus I'm sitting out a rainstorm on Memorial Day, how appropo.  Not training, not barbequeing, sitting on the couch.)

So this is the rashguard (though I'm wearing Ok! Kimonos spats).  It's a size medium, and it's a comfortable fit (I'm 5'2", 140 lbs, wear a 34C and an A1 or F3 gi for reference.)  It's dye sublimated so the image won't flake or peel.


Meerkatsu drew a qilin for this piece.  A qilin is an ancient Chinese heavenly creature who Combat Skin describes as "benevolent and kind, but transforms to a fierce and powerful beast if good is threatened by evil so it is the perfect analogy of a true martial artist and represents the warrior spirit within."

combat-warrior-rashguard00

My only gripe is that it is a little long in the torso for me, so it rides up to my waist... but on the plus side, it doesn't show my belly skin, even so.  It was really smooth and comfortable material, with soft, interlock stitched seams.  Usually I don't like a high crew neck, but this one never felt like it was choking me, and the arm seams didn't irritate or feel tight.


Here's Joseph, wearing the medium size spats.  He's 5'11" 180lbs, and wears an A3 gi.  The spats have a waist drawstring and you never feel like they'll slide over your hips while rolling.  They fit me fine, a little long as you would expect, but I liked that they didn't look see through (even though the inside of the fabric is white, so when stretched, they do have a little white in the background.)

I was comfortable wearing them alone, without board shorts, for training, but Joseph was not and had to be bullied a bit to pose for these pictures (hence the blur, and the awkward expression.  Also dig the photobomb in the background.)



I have washed these in the machine on hot and dried in the machine on hot, a bunch... at least thirty times... and noticed no shrinking or wear.  There was a little fuzzing on the forearms, but that's pretty expected and not bad after a few months' worth of wear and tear.

The rashie is $59 and the spats are $55 on the Combat Skin website.  You can get 20% off your whole order, if you use the discount code "BJJSCOUT" when you check out.

Other reviews out there:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Detales grappling gear specially for women...





Detales Clothing just opened their online store.  Not gis, but nogi and under-your-gi stuff designed by women in jiu jitsu, for women in jiu jitsu.  Lightweight compression gear for under the gi, including a nice light capri-length legging, athletic bras, and shorts, as well as heavier thicker compression gear for nogi, including grappling tights, a short sleeve rashie, and board shorts.



Plus,  NO PINK.  NO LAVENDER.  NO FRILLY DAMN BUTTERFLIES AND KITTENS.



And 15% off if you use discount code #BJJWomen when you check out through the end of May!