Thursday, June 30, 2005

MTA vs. SHPOSitude

The NYT has a piece about the no-coffee rule on the subways.
Honestly, not a big deal. A rule about drinking coffee?

How about a rule against threatening to kill people?
(more below the jump)
I was wearing a suit (I gotta wear one to the courthouse) a few mornings ago and this scraggly man screams at me from about a foot away:
"Good morning, motherf****er, got a PROBLEM?!!"

I think some judicious rule-drafting could let that guy know he's acting out of bounds, without unnecessarily chilling the use of the term "motherf****er" or the phrase "got a problem?".

Anyway, coffe en't the MTA's biggest concern:
Fare evasion is by far the most common violation, followed by smoking, obstructing seats, littering, drinking alcohol, interfering with the movement of other passengers, failing to produce identification, selling fare cards, unauthorized commercial activity, riding outside the train, and liquid in an open container.

Hell, a few months ago I was sitting in a car where a guy was sitting in a seat near the door, eating a slice of pizza. Not drunk, not homeless, just some guy. He's taken about five bites out of the slice, when we get to a stop.
And he just
the slice
outside the car.

coffee spill
Don't sweat it.

Rats on Pizza

The MTA's got some real SHPOSitude to deal with. Where are you when we need you, The Whaler?!

BJJ Move #25: Major Hip Throw (several variations)

Now that I've described how to get thrown, I'll describe the most basic throw.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Major Hip Throw (O Goshi, hip toss), several variations:


Standard grip: The standard grip on an opponent wearing a gi (that heavy cotton jacket and pants combo judo and jujitsu people train in) is just like the collar-and-elbow grip, but instead of grabbing behind your opponent's neck with your right hand, you grab his left collar high on his chest, and instead of grabbing his right elbow / triceps with your left hand, you grab his left sleeve just above the elbow.

The throw step:
Many judo-style throws start with this standard entry.
Start with your left foot forward and the regular grip.
Step forward with your right foot so it is directly in front of your left foot and about six inches in front of it.
Now pivot counterclockwise on your right foot while bringing your left back so your back faces him.
Your feet should be parallel to each other, about shoulder width apart.
Your knees should be deeply bent, and your legs should not be bowed out or in.
You should not be bent over very much at the waist.
Your hip / lower back must be close to his body, and you should have pulled his belly flush to your back with your arms.

Major hip throw (gi version):
From a standard grip, break your opponent’s balance to his front.
Switch your right hand to grab around his waist, step in and throw him over your right hip.
Standard foot entry, keep your feet close together so your hips can rise up underneath his hips (if they’re too far apart, you won’t come up high enough to elevate him).
You want your hip to actually go a little bit past your opponent’s hips instead of staying perfectly square.
Note that it is very difficult to get this deep into someone's defenses when he can hold you off with grips your gi jacket--it's a much easier throw to accomplish while wearing no gi.

With your left arm, grab your opponent’s right tricep and pull his forearm into your left armpit.
Step around with your right foot to the outside of his left foot so your hips are tight to his and perpendicular to them (forming a “t”).
Put your right arm around his waist.
Keep your head tucked near his left shoulder or your right cheek against his chest. Keeping tight protects you against being thrown by your head or hit.
Now step your right foot in front of his feet so your feet are right in front of his feet, facing the same direction.
Push your hips across and in front of his hips (just a little lower than his, and just a little past them to the right to keep him from sliding around them).
Bend over at your waist, straighten your legs, pull with your right arm around your opponent’s waist and with your left hand on his right arm to toss him over your hip. Your shoulders will rotate counterclockwise. This move has a lot of mechanical efficiency and should feel very easy.
You can armlock from here— keeping hold of his right wrist in your left armpit, put your right knee into his ribs, t-stack your arms over his right elbow and apply an armlock.

Hip throw and armlock vs. Cross:
You and your opponent are both in right-handed (left-foot-forward) stance.
Your opponent throws a right cross.
Block by raising your 85% bent left arm to cover your entire left side of face/head (“covering block”) while stepping forward with your left foot. His right arm should lie across your left arm.
Now trap his punching (right) arm in your left armpit (overhook) and lean your head over his right shoulder (so he can’t hit your face with his left).
Get an underhook under his left armpit with your right hand (an overhook will let him get your back).
Now step across with your right foot, loosen your left arm and grab hard just above his elbow with your left hand and hip throw him.
When he lands, arm bar or “t-stack” armbar (as above).

Hip throw and armlock vs. Overhand Right / Haymaker:
As above, but opponent throws an overhand right or a haymaker.
Instead of the block above, step strongly forward and shoot your left hand and arm straight forward and upward, shrugging your shoulder and trying to lie your arm across his right shoulder/bicep.
Continue to hip throw as above.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

BJJ Move #24: Falling Down

It doesn't always work out like you planned.
Sometimes you get tripped, thrown, swept, pushed, or just plain fall. You're going toward the ground. Now what?

You ought to know how to fall more or less safely. You may still get hurt-- these tips just help somewhat.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Falling Down:

Key points:

Don't hit your head.
If you're falling onto your back, tuck your chin so your head doesn't slam back into the ground. If you're falling onto your front, keep your head up and turn it to the side so you don't break your face. If you're going to end up rolling head over heels to the front or side, tuck your head and turn it away from the shoulder that's going to hit the ground first, so you don't break your neck (or face) rolling over your shoulder.

Lower yourself first.
When you know you're going down, bend at the knees, hips, and waist to start lowering your weight onto the ground. That way you aren't falling from the maximum height and your fall will be softer. You may be able to touch the ground with your shoulder or butt and start your soft(er) landing before your fall gains a lot of velocity.

Don't break your wrist, elbow, or shoulder.
You may want to reach out and stop your fall with your arms. Don't. Your arms may be strong, but you'll hurt yourself trying to catch your quickly moving bodyweight on them. Instead, if you're falling to the back or side, keep them bent and tucked against your chest, then slap them against the ground as you're falling (if you're falling to the back/side, just slap with the arm on the shoulder closer to the ground).
If you're falling onto your front, you can land on both your palms with your arms bent deeply at the elbows while balancing on the balls of your feet (so you don't bang your knees and hips . . . as much). You'll land like you're at the bottom of a pushup. Keep your head turned to the side so you don't break your face. This isn't a comfortable landing.

Slap and Spread Out.
Once you roll over to the front, or fall to the back or side, slap your palm on the ground at about a 45 degree angle from your body with your arms straight. This helps dissipate the force of your fall, and keeps you from sticking your arm out earlier to break your fall (...breaking your own arm).
If you fall straight back, slap with both arms. If you fall mostly onto the left of your back, slap with the left hand only and keep your right hand tucked in by your chest.
In general, you'd like to maximize the surface area of non-vulnerable body touching the ground at once. Slapping is part of this. Also, when falling to the side, you want your bottom leg bent at the knee and hip so the flat, fleshy part on the outside hits the ground, and the sole of your other foot should land there, too. This way (when falling to your right), you have your slapping right arm, your back / right side of your shoulder, the right side of your right leg, and possibly your left sole all pushing off the ground at once-- not just your spine or head.

If you're not just plopping down to the front, side, or back, but instead are getting thrown head over heels (like a forward somersault), don't fight it. Go over, roll, then slap against the ground. If you fight going over, you end up thrown onto your head.
You can practice rolling by putting one hand near or on the ground, bending over at the waist, and somersaulting over your shoulder.
Even if you aren't doing a somersault, rolling across your shoulders, or onto your butt and then up your back, can convert some downward momentum in the horizontal direction and soften your fall.

Strictly Butter

The NYT reports in this piece on a recent paper on how terrorists could kill or injure hundreds of thousands by dumping botulinum toxin into a milk tanker truck.

That's a cheery thought.

And the Department of Health and Human Services wrote to the National Academy of Sciences to ask them not to publish the piece.

Even better.

The authors, Lawrence M. Wein, a Stanford business professor, and Yifan Liu, a graduate student, suggested that a small quantity of toxin surreptitiously added to a tanker truck loaded with milk might poison hundreds of thousands of Americans.
* * *
"I realize it's a difficult issue - security by obscurity, versus security by transparency," Dr. Wein said. He said he decided to proceed with publication because so much of the information was already public and because he was proposing concrete steps to safeguard the milk supply.
Some experts have asserted that Dr. Wein's paper exaggerates the danger. Dr. Alberts's editorial said recent improvements in pasteurization methods might inactivate far more than 68 percent of the botulinum toxin, the assumption used in the paper.
In addition, Milton Leitenberg of the University of Maryland, and George Smith, of, have posted a critique of the milk paper on the Web, calling the paper "inflammatory" and asserting that a botulinum toxin attack would be difficult to mount.

Well, now I'm reassured.
I'm ingesting all my dairy in butter form from now on. Strictly butter.
Better judged, uh, fat by twelve than carried by six.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Taiwan Loves Korea

Cool piece in today's NYT about how Korean TV dramas are becoming more popular than Japanese shows in places like Taiwan and China.

It's a bit of a shock to the old Hermit Kingdom, but it makes perfect sense to me...

I lived in South Korea back in 1997, and I can tell you that their aesthetic travels well: flashy clothing, sentimental drama, humor that can be offbeat but not very dry.
Add a young generation that's healthy (and so pretty good-looking) and highly packaged pop stars and actors (referred to as "talents"), and you've got instant export culture.

Another advantage is that Korean pop culture isn't, well, weird like in Japan. Japanese pop culture all seems to involve some grab bag of infantilization of women, nonconsensual intercourse, genetic mutation and nuclear explosions. And ninjas.
Not exactly telenovela material.

Korea's circumstances are also much more like Taiwan's than Japan-- Korea was the much crapped-upon colony of Japan, Taiwan the "little brother" colony. But both are full of smart, hard-working people and each has a big chip on its shoulder about its status in the region.

On a more personal note [cue oxytocin], this quote reminded me of an interaction I had back in my expat days:

To South Koreans like Kim Hyun Kyung, a director at Cheil Communications, an advertising agency in Seoul, feeling the reach of their culture for the first time was surprising. In 2001, during a trip to Los Angeles, she met a Chinese woman who brightened up when she learned that she was Korean.

"She was a big fan of Kim Hee Sun," Ms. Kim said, referring to a South Korean actress who is now more popular in China than at home. "She was happy that I had the same last name as she did. We were meeting for the first time, but she had a favorable image of Korea."

When I lived in Inchon, everyone asked me personal questions.
Are you married? How much money do you make? Why aren't you married? Etc.
This was long before Daniel Pearl, but I was still cagey when a Korean there first asked my religion.
I had read that anti-semitism was prevalent in Japan, where no one had ever met a Jew, but still picked up some bad impressions of us from their WWII partners in crime.

So when I told the woman, a teacher at the middle school where I was working, that I was Jewish, it warmed my expat heart that she told me Koreans had a good opinion of Jews.

"Why?" I asked. "Do you know any Jews?"
Well, that was too much to hope for.

But, it turns out that Koreans, who are big into Confucianism and ethical texts, and some people use the Talmud (or some selection from it) as a guide for child rearing. If a Korean thinks it's weird to meet LA Chinese who like Koreans because of their favorite celebrities, imagine how weird it is for a Jew to find out that Koreans read rabbinic discussions of Jewish law, ethics, and legends.

Hey, if they get to borrow the Talmud, and we get kimchi, it's an excellent deal. Utils all around.
But, uh, they can keep the bundaegi (roasted silkworm larvae):

Monday, June 27, 2005

BJJ Move #23: Standing up from the Ground

It just didn't turn out like you planned. You're on your back, and your opponent is standing up. Maybe you slipped, or he knocked you down.
Well, don't just sit there on your butt-- get up!

Without getting knocked out by a kick to the face, okay?

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Standing up from the Ground:

First, you should be on your back (supine), not on your belly (prone).
Second, your feet should face your opponent, not your vulnerable head.

If your opponent is close, try to get your feet hooked into his knees or in his hips; the De la Riva guard will be described in another post.

If, as is more likely, your opponent isn't crowding over you, and he's in right-handed (left foot forward) stance, your stance should be as follows:

Put the sole of your left foot on the ground, left knee pointing up.
Lie on your right hip, with your right leg bent at the hip and knee and lying along the ground.
Put your right hand on the ground behind you to prop your body up a little, and keep your left hand or forearm out forward, "feeling" the distance and protecting your face. In this position, if he throws a rear leg roundhouse kick, your raised left leg and left arm will protect your face somewhat. If his right foot is forward, your position should also be reversed.

With the your right foot, kick straight out at his advancing legs with your heel, toes facing to your right. This should help keep him at a relatively safe distance.
When you see the chance, lift your hip off the ground (your weight is on your left foot and right hand), snatch your right leg backwards and stand up on your right foot.

If you want to be fancy, instead of snatching your right leg back, swing it hard in a roundhouse kick so you rise up as it’s going past and ends up behind your left foot (a la Matt Sera).

Inspirational Quote #1:

"Tragedy is I stub my toe. Comedy is you fall down a manhole and die."
--Mel Brooks

Friday, June 24, 2005

Goat Update, People!

I wrote recently to let y'all know about the Flavor that is Goat.

In that post, I praised goats for their taste & texture as well as for the attention showered on them in the Bible, and mentioned their abilities to help wean farmers off tobacco production, ease the transition of Somali refugees, remove weeds in place of pesticides, and range free in varied terrain.

Now we learn that they also prevent forest fires.

It seems our noble caprine brothers graze upon the brush that gives "brush fire" its undeniably apt name.

What can't goats do? They fight toll trolls, they give us wonderful cheese, they make fancy sweaters, and they have those weird horizontal-slit pupils.
Goat, I salute you.

BJJ Move #22: Covering Block

BJJ doesn't have a lot of striking practice.
At the same time, people in real fights do try to hit you.
You'd like not to get hurt when that happens.

Probably you should learn to box so you can block, parry, slip, bob, weave, counterpunch, take a punch, and, maybe, duck.
Failing that, keep your hands up and move into a clinch. Really, once you've come to grips with someone, you're much safer from strikes than your are when standing away from someone trading shots.

You're usually safer tying up with a bigger, stronger opponent than trying to fight him with punches. He can move you around, but you're not likely to be knocked out on your feet.
Also, if you have some grappling training, you may have a real advantage over an untrained guy with a size advantage. But most people are fairly conversant with the idea of punching you, so you'd need to be a much better boxer to have a real skill advantage in stand-up punching against a bigger opponent.

BJJ includes a very simple, straightforward and effecting blocking strategy against common punches, especially against the loopy "haymaker" punches untrained fighters tend to throw at your face when they want to hit you without getting too close.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Covering block:

You and your opponent are both in right-handed (left-foot-forward) stance.
He throws a right cross or a haymaker with his right.
Block by raising your 85% bent left arm to cover your entire left side of face/head.
You are making a motion like you're a greaser straightening his hair, then holding the back of your head. Your arm will lie against your head; you aren't reaching out to stop his punch like a karate block-- this block just shields your head.
You may do this while stepping forward with your left foot if you're moving in for a clinch.
If you've stepped forward, his right arm should slap across your left arm.
If you are standing still, you should turn your shoulders slightly to the right, and his right hand should hit your left arm instead of your face.
There are a number of ways this block can be used to protect you as you move in for a clinch or takedown against a punch, which I will describe in later posts.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Super Recap #1

Well, loyal blogsurfers, it's been a few days since I put anything worthwhile up here.
With all the BJJ posts, it's beginning to look like I'm the shtarker instead of this guy.

So, I'll just mention a bunch of cool things quickly:

National Geographic's got a cool piece about an early venomous mammal. Seems that poison strategy was working for the early mammals before we got all quick and strong. Rrowr! Placental mammals RULE!
Did you know that several kinds of shrews, as well as male platypuses, are venomous? 'strue.

In other animal news, the fools at Reuters believe a Kenyan farmer's story that he killed a leopard with him bare hands by ripping its tongue out.
Now, I believe some guys killed a leopard. But a live leopard isn't going to unclamp its jaws from some guy's hand so he can pull it out along with the thing's tongue. No way. They killed or wounded it, then tore its tongue out and made up a very silly story.
A carnivore's principal tool is its mouth full of pointy teeth. I don't think animals who eat other large animals for a living are confused by pretty much any reaction of their prey once they've put the bite on 'em. Not even a farmer's ninja tongue-lock.
Bad Idea
"Go ahead, reach in and pull my tongue out, man creature."

Then again, I actually wrestled an elephant into submission once by twisting its tail, though, so maybe I'm wrong.

In other not real news, The Onion has "jumped the shark" with it's Future Issue, set in the year 2056. See, e.g., "Democratic Middle Eastern Union Votes to Invade U.S.".
You see, it's funny because, in the future, everything is reversed. Get it?
Arab nations with democracy, international cooperation, human rights, economic power... in short, a laugh riot.
Why aren't you laughing? C'mon, you can do better than that.
Wait, other articles have make contemporary issues seem silly in light of their Super Sci-Fi equivalents of 2056. Halliburton Battle Droids. Genetically modified... sigh.
Ergo, humor. Meh.

Do I waste three posts for this narishkeit? Hell, no.
Get your hot non-news right here. Bam.

BJJ Move #21: Double Leg Takedown - BJJ Style (with various setups, and notes on shooting generally)

"Okay," you say, "so I'm standing up against my opponent and I want to try all these fancy pins and submissions on the ground. How do I get him down there?"

Well, until you've learned to throw blue fireballs, you'll need to use things like takedowns.

One straightforward way is "shooting," or lunging in at your opponent, grabbing his legs, and lifting or knocking him off his feet. Here's the BJJ version of a double leg takedown, called a "baiana," along with a bunch of setups and tips.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Double Leg Takedown - BJJ Style (with various setups, and notes on shooting generally):

NOTE: If you've done wrestling, BJJ shooting takedowns are different (but not necessarily incorrect or sloppy). With a freestyle wrestling double leg, you touch your lead knee to the ground and come much lower than in a BJJ-style double leg.
The BJJ version is different, ostensibly because:
(1) when fighting on a hard surface instead of mats, you don't want to bang your knee on the ground; and
(2) when wrestling, both opponents start in a lower, crouching position to protect against takedowns, while in a fight opponents stand upright-- and the BJJ style double leg is designed for shooting in underneath a jab.
I suspect another reason is that Japanese takedowns didn't really include shooting for legs, emphasizing throws and sweeps instead. In judo, for example, you can't touch your knee to the ground when going for the judo equivalent of a double leg (morote gari).
Anyway-- this move does work well.

Double Leg Takedown (a/k/a Morote Gari, Baiana) – BJJ Modified Version:
You and your opponent are in right-handed stances, left foot forward.
Change level (bend at the knees and hips--not back--so your body is lower).
Step into him (with your left foot—do not go down onto the knee like in a freestyle wrestling takedown; this is modified for fighting when not on a mat), and drive your left shoulder into him at waist level.
Keep your torso at a 45-degree angle and use your shoulder to ram into his stomach to double him over. You don't want to bend over too much at the waist, or you'll get pancaked, and you don't want to be totally upright, or you'll have no forward momentum.
Also, keep your elbows in close to your own body as you drive in-- you don't want to reach out toward his legs until you have good penetration.
Wrap your left hand around the back of his right knee, and your right hand around the back and side of his left knee. The left hand grip is harder to get because it’s farther back. Press your left cheek high and tight against his left side (just above the hip in his lower ribs, keeps you from being guillotined).
When wearing a gi (or pants), instead of looping the legs, which is pretty precarious, grab onto the pant legs.
Drive your head up behind his left armpit to unbalance him and protect against a guillotine choke.
(1) Lift his left knee, putting his weight on his other leg;
(2) Push your head up and into his side and push him back towards his rear (right) leg (which you should be able to block with your left hand). It’s like tipping a chair diagonally back on one leg—don’t drive straight back, go at an angle;
(3) Pull his legs together at the knees, as much as possible, by pulling your elbows into your knees;
(4) Continue to look behind him and drive off your right leg as if you want to go behind him.
Or, instead of tipping him over, if you have good penetration, drive up with your legs and pick him up onto your left shoulder. Dump him to your left.
When he comes down, make sure to move your body to the left, clearing his right leg, and come down in cross side. Use your left arm to block his right leg to help you keep side control (instead of being put back into guard).

Three basic takedown setups from before a clinch:
1) “Clubbing:” Using your rear hand, grab your opponent at the back of his neck and pull strongly forward so he bends over at the waist. Time your shot so you come in as he is straightening back up. If he stays bent over, spin around to his side / back, pancake him, or get a headlock / guillotine. The reason you use your rear hand is that using your lead hand opens you up to a shot / take the back on your lead side.
2) Push the head: Push your opponent’s forehead with your rear hand to straighten his back up and make him bring his hands up, then shoot low. You can also just put a hand in front of his eyes to distract him, then shoot.
3) Feint: Change your level a bit so your opponent reacts by doing the same. As he comes back up from defending your feint, shoot again before he can lower his level.

Snapdown Setup for Double Leg Takedown:
Circle your opponent.
Get "inside arm control" by placing your hands on the tops of his shoulders with his hands / arms outside yours.
Kick your left leg back as you pull your elbows into your hips to snap your opponent down in a surprise motion.
If his knees hit the floor, then jump to his back.
Otherwise, wait for him to react by straightening up, then shoot in low and grab him behind the knees as described above.
As you spin towards his back hug his knees together and drive him to the floor.

General Shooting Tips:
· Never force a clinch: this means if you are going to shoot and your opponent is pushing away over and over, back up readjust and try again. This would also be the time to strike.
· When you are starting in a standing position and are about to take your opponent down, you have to either move in fast or not at all. Once you make contact with your head, keep driving and don’t stop until he’s knocked over.
· When you are taking down your opponent by shooting for his knee or waist, always protect your neck with your arms in close to your body. Keeping your arms up protects your head from knee strikes and your neck from guillotine chokes, and keeping your arms in tight avoids the situation where your opponent simply blocks your shot by putting his hands on your upper arms.
· When shooting, keep your forehead parallel (not level, parallel) with your opponent’s shoulder: This way when you shoot in, your opponent will have to punch downwards to hit you. This is difficult to generate the proper leverage for a strike and will lessen your chances of getting decked on the way in.
· Keep your head covered when shooting and touch your elbows to your opponent's chest before completing the clinch: When you come in keep your elbows up to cover your head. Then don't grab your opponent until you have touched your elbows onto his chest. This way you will slightly disrupt his balance on the way in, and make your clinch easier.
· Every time you shoot in with your head against your opponent's waist or go to take his opponent's back, if you are going under his arm, press your head up into his armpit and bring your body around. This will help keep you from getting guillotined.
· When shooting, keep your chin and face pinned/tucked against your shoulder, to avoid having your opponent get a full arm around your neck for a guillotine choke - if anything, he will only be able to get his arm halfway around your neck.
· If you and your opponent are both in right handed stances (left foot forward), it will be more feasible to attempt a double leg takedown because when you shoot in with your left foot his rear (right) knee will be close. Conversely, if you and your opponent are in opposite stances (your left foot is forward and his right foot is forward), it will be easier to shoot for a single-leg takedown because his lead foot is right near yours, but his rear leg is very far away. Similarly, if you push, pull, or circle your opponent off balance, the foot he has forward relative to your lead foot will determine what shot is feasible.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

BJJ Move # 20: Collar-and-Elbow Clinch

When standing up and fighting, you are probably going to come into close contact with someone.
Maybe you are The One, and you can move with such speed and grace that you don't need to put your hands up to protect your face and fight without any real grappling.
Otherwise, you're going to come to grips with your opponent. Here's one common grip from which you can start working other moves.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Collar-and-Elbow Clinch:
-standing clinch

You are facing your opponent, and you are close to each other.
Your right hand holds the back of his neck from behind (while he does the same to you).
Your left hand grabs his right arm just above his elbow from the outside (while he does the same to you).
With this grip, your left foot should be slightly forward.

From here, you can work toward a number of moves, such as a duck-under to a takedown, ankle pick, standing guillotine, superior clinches, etc.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

BJJ Move # 19: What? Standing?

Unfortunately, people are reluctant to start a fight with you by lying down and waiting for you to get a good position.
In fact, they're typically standing up, so you have to stand, too.
Some basics of standing up - stance, guard, and movement.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Standing Basics:

Stance & Guard
Feet pointed mostly forward; don’t let your back foot point out at too much of an angle (you won’t be able to push off to move forward).
Balance your weight evenly on each foot, so you can move in either direction.
Keep your weight on the balls of your feet, not your heels (so you can move).
Raise your rear heel slightly (keeps you on the balls of your feet, more power for moving forward).
Keep your hands up, especially the rear hand, which should be near your cheek.
Elbows in to your ribs.
Head movement, shoulder movement. Keep moving.
Don’t get backed up. Circle.
Keep loose.
Chin down and tucked into lead shoulder (or you’ll get punched in the face too easily). Don’t lead with your face.
Don’t bounce up and down or hop around.
Don’t stand up too straight—your power and mobility come from pushing off the ground with your feet (impossible if you’re too upright), and it makes you vulnerable to shooting. Don’t go too low, either, or you’ll be vulnerable to kicks.

Move by "shuffling:" If you’re moving in direction X, the foot closest to that direction moves first, then the other one follows up. Don’t cross your feet (you won’t be able to change directions, you’ll fall or get knocked over). This is fast, keeps you in a position where you can execute techniques while staying on balance, and lets you expose a minimum of targets while moving.
Don’t get your feet spread out (you’ll get kicked in the crotch, ankle picked, and you’ll be immobile) or close together (you’ll get taken down or knocked over).
Don’t lean forward at the waist when you step forward (you’ll get uppercut, shot on, etc.) or lead with your face (you’ll get hit with a cross and knocked out) or lean back at the waist when you step backward (you’ll get backed up).
When circling an opponent, don’t circle towards his rear (power) hand. If he’s right-handed, circle counter-clockwise. This way you’re moving away from his heavy punches; even though he’s moving from yours, a clinching/shooting strategy favors that tradeoff. Also, the lead side is best to shoot for: it’s closer, doesn’t bring your head between his hands and between his feet (where his shots are stronger), and keeps you away from his power side.

Monday, June 20, 2005

BJJ Move #18: Armlock from Guard

Here is one of the most basic and fundamental submissions-- the armlock.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Armlock from Guard (juji gatame):

To lock his right arm, establish the “no-gi arm control”: hold his right wrist to your chest with your left hand, and wrap your right hand across the top of his right biceps around the outside of his right tricep, holding his elbow tight to your body (your right arm must come underneath his left arm, not over it, for you to hold his right arm down effectively). If his arm is off your body, raise your hips a little to bring them against his arm, secure the grip, then drop back down.

Put your left foot on his right hip (knee in tight to his body so he has little room to maneuver, not out at an angle) or on the mat (if you are too close to him to put it on his hip) and push your hips out to your left, swinging your head counterclockwise “so you can look into his left ear.” When you are pivoting, your butt and shoulders should come off the mat, like you’re doing an abdominal crunch, so you’re spinning on just your lower back. At the same time as you pivot, push down strongly on his back with your right leg, keeping him from sitting up. Try to bring your right foot close to your left knee. Your hips will come up off the ground and your crotch will come close to his right shoulder.

Swing your left leg over his head. If his head is too close to do this, release your left hand and push his face down with your left hand, then bring your left leg over his head.

Armlock by folding your legs over his head (don’t cross your feet), squeezing your knees together (this is critical—squeeze to immobilize his arm), pulling on his wrist, and thrusting your hips upwards against his upper arm.

Tip: When going for the armlock from the guard, put your butt in the air and keep your legs in a strong position, rather than stretching your legs way back to hook around his head in a weak position where you'll be collapsed easily.

Tip: Don’t straighten your legs to push him over—keep your knees clamped over his head to keep his shoulder close to your groin. Straighten at the hips and keep your knees bent.

Tip: When trying an armlock with no gi on your opponent, finish by wrapping your arms around his elbow like a rear naked choke.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Take that, Macho Man

I run to work about twice a week.
Sometimes I do a few pushups.
About once a week, I do some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
So, you know, I thought I might be in decent shape.
But these Nepalese porters put me--and, I suspect, everyone I've ever met--to shame.

Feel like a seven to nine day mountain trek with 90 percent (on average) of your bodyweight to your head?
How about doing that for your job?

I don't think I'd make it across the room.

BJJ Move #17: In North and South - Standard Escape

Standard escape from North & South

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

In North and South - Standard Escape:

Get your right arm between his legs, grab his right leg from behind at the knee, and roll over to your right onto your belly, pulling his knee in towards you.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

BJJ Move # 16: Kimura (a/k/a chickenwing) from North and South

Another opportunity for the Kimura-- North & South.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Kimura (a/k/a chickenwing) from North and South:
First, pin down your opponent’s right upper arm (between his shoulder and elbow) with your right knee/shin.
Then grab his left wrist on his belly with your right hand, palm down, your thumb facing his elbow.
T-stack your hands (left forearm underneath his left elbow, left hand on top of your own right wrist), then jerk up, bringing his left shoulder off the mat (and rising onto your left foot) and apply chicken-wing shoulderlock by turning counterclockwise (to left).

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Did He Who Made The Lamb Make Thee . . . Delicious?

Ohohoho! NYT has a great piece today about the growing popularity of goat meat.

If you want to drool, keep reading. No, really.
And if you want to be warned of the risk of incurring the wrath of God:
Zak Pelaccio, chef at 5 Ninth in the meatpacking district, stops by Ms. Hushour's stand for goat shoulder, which he braises in goat's milk that he also buys from her.

Watch out, Zak!

As God put in in Exodus 23:19: "Lo tivasheil gidee bakhalev eemo," or "Don't boil a kid in its mother's milk."
Seems the Canaanites (always bad luck to be an ethnic group ending in -ite; they all go extinct) used to do this to please the gods.
And no way was God saving the Jews from Egypt so they could move into Canaan and start worshipping idols again. So he put the kibosh on all emulating sorts of local religious practices, and fast.

Later, with the "fence around the Torah" concept, careful rabbis expanded this prohibition to forbid eating any meat (including birds, which shows that rabbis aren't real champs with the taxonomy) with any dairy product. Observant Jews have separate dishes for meals containing meat and those containing dairy products. They even wait an hour between eating dairy and meat.

Now, I'm pretty much don't keep kosher (you don't say "I'm kosher"-- that means its OK to eat you).
But I ent eating no kid boiled in goat's milk.
I saw "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and I know it wasn't for nothing that God put specific prohibitions in the Bible against things like toying with the Ark of the Covenant, practicing witchcraft, and eating pigs.
Maybe you're not Jewish, or not very Jewish, but I mean-- this is pretty specific. Are you sure you want to mess with this?
Remember the melting eyeballs?
I'm not taking any chances.

On the other hand, goats in general are definitely okay.
Jews have been eating goats since before we got the Bible.
Hey, an angel even told Abraham to eat one instead of killing Isaac!

And there's nothing wrong with the Northern Chinese "young goat leg braised with soy sauce, ginger, star anise, cinnamon bark and rice wine." I know those guys don't put cheese in anything. And with that dish, I might actually believe them when they say it contains "no pork."

And an L.A.-style birria, "tortillas . . . stuffed with slowly roasted goat, chopped onion, cilantro and a hot red sauce from Jalisco in central Mexico"-- I think I'm in love.

Don't even get me started on "goat wrapped in avocado leaves, rubbed with chili, and steamed in beer." That's just foodie porn.

I don't care if I'm eating "the same breed that Heidi of the storybook tended for her grandfather in the Swiss Alps," or "Boer goat, first bred in the 1930's by South African farmers."

And I don't care if goats can help wean farmers off tobacco production, ease the transition of Somali refugees, remove weeds in place of pesticides, or that they'll "always be free range because they are climbers."

Because, Goat, He who made the lamb made thee . . . delicious.

Terry Teachout on Blogging

Read this great Commentary piece about blogs by Terry Teachout. He describes the role of blogs in the atomization of our culture and in building smaller communities for exchanging information. Smart, smart piece.

Commentary, for those who don't know, is a politically conservative Jewish publication. It is home to some of the most prominent actual neoconservatives-- as opposed people who are currently (incorrectly) called "neocons" by people who actually mean "evil archconservative" or just "Jew who voted for Dubya."

It also has some damn fine writing on domestic and international politics, culture, and good book reviews.

BJJ Move #15: North and South (position)

Here's a position you often get to when someone starts squirming around in your cross side.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

North and South:

With the legs tucked in, called "Kami Shiho Gatame;" with the legs out, "Kuzure Kami Shiho Gatame."
Basically, your opponent is on his back and you are chest-to-chest with him facing his feet. Hold onto his hips with your hands, pin his body / hips with your elbows, and stay heavy to control him.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Corrections #2: Newark

Today's NYT corrections inform us that:
Because of editing errors, an article on Friday about a gathering of representatives from the various Newarks around the world, held this year in New Jersey, referred incorrectly at one point in some copies to the mayor of Newark, N.J., and at another point misidentified the location of an exhibition. As noted elsewhere in the article, the mayor is Mr. James, not Mr. Sharpe; the exhibition is at the Newark Public Library, not the Newark Museum.

Other errors led to the misidentification of the nature of the gathering.
The representatives from the other Newarks were sent as delegates to petition New Jersey's Newark to change its name. The Int'l Newark League suggested "Gehenna," "Hellhole," and "Unpleasantville." Newark officials are mulling over those and other appropriate options.

BJJ Move #14: Knee-in-Butt Pass

Here is another way to break the closed guard open that is significantly easier than the standard method.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Knee-in-Butt Pass:

This is a good pass for when someone keeps you from getting upright posture in his guard. It is also very low-energy, so you can use it repeatedly without exposing yourself to submissions and sweeps.

Get flat against your opponent’s chest and brace your hands against his armpits, either with your palms or with the webs of your thumbs.
Scoot back with your feet so his legs are crossed high on your back, then pop up on both feet, keeping him braced with your arms.
You will be bent over at the waist with your legs straight; this will look a lot like the “downward facing dog” yoga pose.
Step one foot (here, the right) forward under your shoulders and to the center, with your instep about lined up with where his crotch is.
Then sit down so your right shin is perpendicular to the ground and is pressing in between your opponent’s legs on his butt. The pressure there, combined with pressure against his legs from your back, pops his legs open. Don’t lean your shin forward at an angle; you don’t want to knee him in the butt or catch his butt between your foot and shin—-you want his butt/crotch pressed against your upright shin, creating maximum distance between his crotch and crossed feet with your shin and back. It’s important that you don’t sit down leaning forward; sit back, and his legs will pop open naturally.
If they don’t pop open immediately, use your hands to push down and forward on his hips and they will.
When his legs pop open, you can pass a number of ways.

Easy pass from knee in butt pass:

From above, after his feet pop open, here is an easy way to pass.
Slide your right shin (it’s the one pointing up) across your opponent’s left thigh, planting your right knee to the ground.
Swim your right arm underneath your opponent’s left arm as you take cross side.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Subways and Slurring and SHPOSes

I hope everyone enjoyed avoiding the Puerto Rican Day parade as much as I did.

I'm sure the Irish are annoyed that everyone picks their parade day to be phony Irish and puke green beer on the sidewalk.

Plenty of Italians want the cast of "The Sopranos" out of their parade.

And I know Puerto Ricans resent that the entire parade route is boarded up the day before to protect against people (largely non-Boriqua) who think PR Pride Day has something to do with celebrating the bygone days of Caribbean piracy.

Personally, I don't want people coming out for the Salute to Israel Day Parade thinking they'll get to secretly control the world for six hours. Not gonna happen. And would be hard to express on a parade route.

I find ethnic pride parades kind of creepy in a nineteenth century nationalism kind of way. Besides, who's proud that his ethnic group's least well-groomed members and various hangers-on have gathered to cheer trucks decorated with flowers?


This mostly irrelevant Reuters piece about mandatory elocution lessons for announcers on the D.C. Metro reminds me of something I want to blather on about.
Something, eh, fascinating.

You are probably a New Yorker (all of my readers who aren't giant tuna or fruit flies are) and don't see the relevance.
D.C.? Where's that? Why'd we ever move the capital from here to that burg?

But the piece does have a bit about NYC:
Washington is hardly alone in spurring this kind of complaint. Commuters in New York City have groused for years about announcements that give only tantalizing hints at critical information.
Now some New York subways have upgraded public address systems that offer clearer, more timely announcements, replacing the squawky talk that frequently left patrons wondering where they were and what was happening when the train stopped. On some lines, there are prerecorded announcements.

See? See?

But have you heard the new announcers on the trains?
There's some guy on the C train who's like a museum curator in training. His spiel is full of historical information, jokes, sage advice... that is not New York.

I want my SHPOS back.
The guy who's clearly not with it enough to be operating the train.
Who's angry and mutters.
He sounds like he's trying to speak and incubate a clutch of eggs in his mouth at the same time.
The only words you can understand him say are "...onger in service" and "" and " train" and "HankuVeriMuh."
That's the NY announcer I love.

He goes with the toll booth attendant who feigns death until you're actually banging your fists against the window, then acts indignant and threatens to call the police. But calls her co-workers (instead of the cops) if it looks like an interesting fight is breaking out. And takes your $76 but hands you a one-week instead of one-month metrocard and steals the change. They're not mostly like that.

But that's the MTA I know and love.

If SHPOSes don't belong in the actual, troglodytic professions-- subway tunnels, sewers, prisons-- I know they won't find fulfillment. And I'll know the furies are out of balance, which can be bad news for the whole subterranean urban ecosystem, viz.:
David Lo Pan

BJJ Move #13: Kimura (a/k/a chickenwing) Shoulderlock from Guard

An easy-to-apply shoulderlock from the guard.
You can apply this move from almost every position, including standing. Even when you can't apply the lock, it is also an excellent hold for control.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Kimura (a/k/a chickenwing) Shoulderlock from Guard:


1) Your opponent bases out with a hand (in this example, his left) on the ground below one of your arms. Or, really, any time his hand goes to the ground.

2) Your (left) arm is to the right of his head, like when trying the “up and over” sweep with your left hand or the guillotine choke with your left arm.

3) You pull your opponent in with your legs, breaking his posture, and he posts his hands on the ground.

Grab his left wrist with your right hand, your thumb pointing up towards his elbow.
Then, twisting your trunk to the right and opening your legs, reach your left arm over his left upper arm, and back underneath his left forearm to grab the top of your own right wrist (t-stack). You will prop yourself onto your right elbow as you sit up into his left arm.
Fall to your back and close your guard again.
Bend his arm 90 degrees at the elbow (for a tighter lock). Keep your own right elbow and his upper arm pinned to your ribs (for greater leverage and a tighter lock).
Unlock your feet and hip out to the right, turning his shoulder. Move your right leg up to over his back, as if to pin his left scapula; this will help immobilize his shoulders so he can’t shrug away from the lock by turning his shoulders, and keep him from somersaulting over and escaping the lock.
To apply the shoulderlock: Turn your head and shoulders towards your left (for more power), keep his upper arm pinned to your chest—don’t wrench his arm around with your hands— and keep his elbow bent at ninety degrees. Move his left hand toward his left ear.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Abeer Allam: Why Do They Hate Us?

I know I've complained on this blog about the New York Times' silliness of late.
Silly articles about "man dates," the evils of highly-produced music, and whatnot.
But then there are hard-hitting pieces, gritty stories of social reality.

Egyptian NYT journalist Abeer Allam rises to the challenges facing contemporary journalists when she provides insight into the questions millions ask every day: Why do they hate us?

Not my question, but that of one of my readers.

Fundin Bluefin writes:

Why do the land creatures hate us?
Greetings, The Litvak. I am Fundin Bluefin, Consul of Fishes for the Eastern Atlantic Province. I am your most avid reader.
Consul Bluefin
According to Ms. Allam's diligent reporting, Manhattan surface dwellers kidnapped and decaptitated a journalist employed with the Daily Herring and left his remains in a rubbish bin.
The odor was so powerful one "could practically see it." Yes, we have the same idiom, charming primitives.
While the majority of local surface dwellers-- decent creatures at heart-- expressed disgust at this heinous crime, "burn[ing] scented candles" and gathering in a vigil, the perpetrators have not been apprehended.
Law enforcement attributed the killing to insurgents in the food service industry.
What do these killers want? They have made no demands and apparently strike without reason. Their cause is doomed.
As the duly appointed leader of your region, I will endeavor to harmonize in our governance the needs of surface-clinging creatures with those of their aquatic overlords. These killers resent our freedoms and fear we would loosen their dominance over others. Among the Fish, unjust hierarchy of size and toothiness is a relic of the dark past. And so it shall be among the surface creatues. You need not crouch in the shadows of the kelp any longer; emerge, emerge into the open water.
To the co-hatchlings of that brave and irreplaceable journalist, I send my deepest condolences.

Thank you, Consul Bluefin, and all hail our aquatic liberators.


Actually, it's a clever, funny piece... if a bit silly. Kudos, Ms. Allam!

BJJ Move #12: In Cross Side - Standard Reversal to Guard

Now for what to do when you're on the bottom of cross side...

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

In Cross Side - Standard Reversal to Guard:

First, how to protect yourself in cross side:

Your opponent has you in his cross side on your right side with his left arm under your head and right arm under your left armpit (“underclasp”).
Put your left forearm against his throat under his chin, right forearm across his belly/chest (higher than his hip—you’re going to move his upper torso… though some also say to stick it so it fits into the crease where his legs meet his body “like a key”). “Gooseneck” your wrists so your hands form hooks to keep him from sliding up past your arms.
It is critical to remember that when you defend cross side, you’re defending with the length of arm from your shoulder to your elbow (not your forearms). Concentrate on keeping that space and using your arm as a prop against your opponent's neck, chest, hips, etc. If you can always keep your elbows in there and use that length of arm to make that much space, you can always prevent him from submitting you or getting too tight. Don't think about your forearms, think of yourself as an amputee, with stumps at the elbows, and those stumps always have to be pointing up or keeping that set space between you and your opponent.
Bridge up onto your right shoulder, raising your upper arms perpendicular to the ground so your forearms are now parallel to the ground (elbows at ninety degrees); this way, when you drop back down, your arms are propping his upper body off you. The left forearm against the throat is the more important lever.
With this space created, hip out to the left as far as you can—-you’ll now be lying on your right hip/side, not your back—-and get your right knee/shin (and, if possible, foot) under his right thigh. Be sure your hips are turned all the way onto the ground facing your opponent before you try sticking the knee in.
Then hook your left foot in between his legs, and pop your right knee outside his left hip—-he’s in your guard.
It may help to have the sole of your right foot against your left knee so you can drive with your left foot and hip to get the right knee inside his legs. In general, he wants to stay perpendicular to you, and you want to close the angle so you’re closer to parallel (with feet pointing in the same direction).

Thursday, June 09, 2005

BJJ Move #11: Americana from Cross Side (a/k/a Ude Garami, paintbrush)

A submission from cross side.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Americana from Cross Side (a/k/a Ude Garami, paintbrush):

You have cross side (underclasp) on your opponent’s right side.

Opportunities / set-ups:

1) Drive your left shoulder into your opponent’s chin so he looks away from you; stay heavy, chest to chest, hips down.
Use your right hand to push down on his left wrist to pin it to the ground; don’t push down solely with your right hand, use your entire arm, shoulder and chest to get your weight on it.
Then bring your left elbow by your opponent’s left ear, pushing his head towards your left hip.

2) When his left hand is to the left of your head (higher than his shoulder).

3) Drive your left shoulder forward to release opponent’s forearm from underneath your throat.
Put your head to the ground so you get opponent’s left arm on your left shoulder.
Release his head with your left arm and place your left hand against your cheek.
Lift up with your head and when opponent tries to bring his left forearm back to your throat, catch it with your left hand and apply the keylock:

With your left hand, grab his left wrist, thumb towards elbow and press the back of his hand to the mat.
Slide your right hand underneath his left upper arm from the hip/down direction and grab the top of your left forearm ("t-stack").
Keep your chest down to keep his left shoulder from coming off the ground; pull his elbow in and down toward his hip before you lever it up over his shoulder. You want his elbow bent at ninety degrees or less, but not too much less. Don’t just lever his left elbow up-—“paint the ground” with the back of his left hand, drawing it down toward his feet. Shoulderlock.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

SysAdmin to TFriedman: You Have Exceeded Metaphor Quota


The first paragraph of your piece in today's NYT has exceeded your daily metaphor quota.

Please delete some metaphors or the system will automatically remove them.


1. China : India :: 6-laned paved highway : highway full of potholes, no sidewalks, half the streetlamps broken

2. Future of China : Future of India :: huge speed bump labeled "Political reform: how in the world do we get from Communism to a more open society?" : smooth road ahead
2.1. Correct / incorrect perception of future : accurate image / mirage

3. People of China : an automobile on a highway

4. Economic and technological development : a car's velocity

5. A society's ability to adapt to rapid political change : a car's ability to withstand the shock of landing after going airborne

6. India : dynamo


BJJ Move #10: Cross Side

Once you've passed the guard, you'll typically end up in this position. It offers good control and mobility.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Cross Side:

There are two basic variations on this position:

In “Yoko Shiho Gatame” (or “overclasp”) you are on your opponent’s right side with him on his back, your legs are basing out, your left arm is across his head with your left elbow on the ground beside his left ear and your left hand on the ground below his left armpit. Your right hand is on the ground by his right hip or holding a knee (keeps him from getting a knee under you).

In “Mune Gatame” (or “underclasp”) your knees are folded under you, your left knee is (ideally) under his right armpit, and your left hand is under his head and left shoulder (left elbow and left knee trapping his right arm). Your right hand is under his left armpit with your left hand clasping on the top of your right hand (left and right hands trapping his head and left arm). Your right elbow and right knee trap his hips. Make sure your left knee is in his right armpit, to keep him from getting his arm in and turning you or hipping out. Put your chest squarely on his chest to keep weight on him, and lean your left shoulder onto his neck to keep his head turned to his left—that makes it harder for him to hip away. Keep your hips down.

Cross Side notes:
· Stay chest to chest; keep your weight on him.
· Knees spread apart so your hips are low.
· Do not bring your hips down close to his hips, or he’ll be able to roll you over him easily.
· Keep your butt low / hips down, or he’ll be able to put his arm (the one closer to you) under your hips and throw you over his body and take the cross side).
· When you have the cross side (on his right) with your hands around his head (mune gatame), he’ll try to hip out to put you in guard. You should either:
o Switch your hips out to the right, putting him into a kesa gatame hold (not yet covered).
o Switch your hips out to the left, keeping your left leg and hip flat on the ground so he can’t put you into the guard. Then:
o Try a Kimura lock on his far arm. When he reacts by sitting back, step over into the mount.
· With the mune gatame (a/k/a underclasp), you want to drive the shoulder, or at least bicep, of the arm around his head so his head turns away from you. With his head facing away, it’s hard for him to turn his hips into you to put you back in guard.
· With the mune gatame (a/k/a underclasp), put your elbow in your opponent’s hip and your knee by the other hip to pin his hips in place and limit mobility.
· Remember, often in side control, you really need to grind down your opponent (either play tight or tire him out) before you can finish or you may have to catch your opponent while he's escaping.
· Be mobile. Sometimes your opponent will really bridge or push to get out. Knee on stomach (not yet covered) is a good option to keep you mobile, allow you to use less energy while you control your opponent and also frustrate and tire him out, forcing him to make mistakes.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

NYT Editorial: We are, too, kewl!

Only read this NYT editorial if you want to lose even more respect for the paper I feel is, more and more, becoming the smart girl who acts dumb so boys will like her.

First, NYT clues you in to the fact that Coldplay (shudder), Black Eyed Peas, and the White Stripes all have album releases today.
NYT knows. She's kewl. And kewl enough to be kewler than to listen to popular music.

Second, NYT reminds you that Wall Street wasn't that excited by Warner Music Group going public a month ago. Kewl NYT isn't impressed by The Man, so she probably didn't buy any WMG, even if it meant agreeing with Wall Street (also the Man).
And NYT is kewl enough to point out it sucked that Jimmy Page sold out by appearing on the trading floor. And connects to your kewlness by not spelling out that Jimmy Page was a guitarist for Zeppelin.

Third, NYT tells you that the music industry "loves to blame its problems on digital piracy," but she don't believe it. Fight the power, NYT! Can you burn me a mix CD?
Better yet, can you let me keep accessing the op-ed page for free? I love you and I hate you.

There's more: "The real problem is an addiction to blockbusters."
NYT is so indie.
Do you think she's cute, like Parker Posey?
Parker Posey
Actually, I think she probably looks a lot like that.

[T]hat is what today is all about - feeding the monster this industry has become. These days there are more musicians and bands than there have ever been, and there are still plenty of music-buying fans. Together, they are discovering alternative means of connecting with each other.

Give me a break.
Is that supposed to mean WMG'd make more money if it abandoned its "blockbuster" strategy, or is NYT just complaining that "It used to be about the music, man!" ?

WMG 2005 Annual Report (10-K):
Sales should increase this year, as there are, you know, plenty of music-buying fans. No doubt our continued strategy of helping people discover alternative means of connecting with each other will result in remarkable profitability.
In other news, the board of directors has boosted its own decision-making abilities with a remarkable energy supplement concocted of cocaine cooked together with ordinary household baking soda.

If John Bonham (former Led Zeppelin drummer) were alive today, he'd never stop throwing up.

Oh, NYT, you are so much prettier when you act smart and write about tax policy, I promise!

BJJ Move #9: In Guard: Passing: Low Pass (a/k/a leg pin pass)

Here's another way to pass the guard after you've broken your opponent's legs apart...

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

In Guard: Passing: Low Pass (a/k/a leg pin pass):

If you’ve broken the guard and fished your right arm through (as in "The High Pass") but he’s keeping his left leg stiff and hipping away to his left to hold you off, here’s what you do.
With your left hand, pin his right knee against the floor. This keeps him from moving or from putting you in a triangle choke and lets you creep over to that side. Keep a hold on his left leg with your right hand.
Slide your left knee across his right thigh, so your left shin lies across his right thigh, pinning it to the ground.
With your opponent’s left leg still on your right shoulder, drive forward like you’re doing a split.
Switch your left hand from his right knee to his gi near his head, thumb inside the gi. With no gi, grab underneath his head with your left arm.
Move your right foot past his right leg and behind your own left leg, effectively “switching out” your legs.
As you release your left foot from his right thigh, drive your right knee into the space, into his right hip so he can’t put you into the guard. Take the cross side on his right side.
Note that you can switch between the high and low pass; once you're pinning the bottom leg, you can wait for your opponent to squirm and open up one side or the other for that pass.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Memailed #3: Monkeys' Business

Greatest. Article. Ever.

Read it now-- Monkeys who use money! Monkeys engage in prostitution (with other monkeys)!

Plus, there's Yale economist Keith Chen's great explanation of the monkeys:

The capuchin has a small brain, and it's pretty much focused on food and sex. You should really think of a capuchin as a bottomless stomach of want. You can feed them marshmallows all day, they'll throw up and then come back for more.

It's like me, but with no student loans!
And-- I admit-- cuter:

SHPOS Post # . . . 2: The Litvak v. Subway Child Molester

Oh, man. Tonight I feel great; spent most of the day at Jones Beach with wonderful people (and some good cheese and fruit) and I'm just a little sore from my training at at Renzo Gracie's Brazilian Jujitsu academy yesterday morning.
Didn't even wake up with a hangover from my first (and definitely not last) time at the excellent mecca of Czech culture, the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria.

The only thing that kept the weekend from being perfect was my subway face-off with a child molester on the subway.

Now, for a tangent. I was once almost molested by an adult when I was a kid. Which, I gather, isn't at all unusual. But it's a good story, so I'll tell it now.

In sixth grade, the local PD sent an officer around for the important job of telling us to say "No" to drugs. And I did, actually, no thanks to Captain D, whose crime prevention efforts consisted of entirely forgettable presentations which I have entirely forgotten.

At the end of sixth grade, we all went on a week-long trip called "sixth grade camp."
We got to select various activities, like spelunking, burning designs in wood, rappelling, etc.

I was terrified of heights, so (of course-- if you know a Litvak) I decided to do rappelling. The theory was, of course, that I could expunge the irrational connection in my mind between heights and death by exposing myself to heights without dying.

Now, at the top of the cliff was me-- a little shrimp for my age-- in a climbing harness, attached to a rope, attached to the waist of Captain D. The rest of the rope trailed down the cliff.

I was clearly exerting a lot of effort not to s--- my pants, so the Captain reassured me like this:

You know, [Litvak], I once had a son named [Litvak]. [Litvak] Paul D. But he died when he was just a baby.

With that, I was off that cliff and fast.

At the bottom, I was quite shaken. And not really by Captain D's comments so much as by the experience of walking 50 feet perpendicular to a cliff while suspended on a rope.

Before our group got back on the bus, Captain D gave me the leather necklace badge for Rappelling. He asked me if I wanted to take a walk down the trail to talk.

Now, I was pretty naive, so I didn't suspect he wanted to molest me. Luckily, I was also pretty guarded about sharing my feelings with strangers (Litvak trait #7), so I declined and got on the bus.

Years later, I learned that Captain D had been arrested. Turns out he'd been molesting boys from the deseg program for years. It all made sense when I found out, of course, and I was creeped out to no small degree, but I never had a suspicion until then.

I take some small pleasure from knowing that, as a cop and a child molester, Captain D's time in prison was particularly unpleasant.



Back to this past Saturday.

I was on the uptown N going into Astoria. I'm sitting on the left side of the car in a row of seats that faces across the aisle. Sitting to my left is my special lady friend, Tenderfoot.
No doubt Tenderfoot is particularly thrilled that her debut on my blog includes a scenario with a child molester and that I've given her a teasing nickname. Cheers!

Sitting across from me is a West Indian man in his forties, well-dressed. It's in the 80s and I think he's wearing a sweater.

To his left on one of those pairs of seats that faces the front of the car is his daughter. She's about four years old, squirming around, eating crackers and chattering. She's wearing jeans, her hair's all done up in little braids and ribbony bits, and she's carrying a shiny plastic Louis Vuitton knockoff handbag. Cute kid.

We get to some stop or other, and the SHPOS walks in. He seems unsteady on his feet, moving in slow motion.

He's thin, with long shiny limbs, wearing turquoise short shorts and a light t-shirt. Very tan (I won't guess his ethnicity, but he wasn't white or black). Sparse hair, maybe in his fifties, unhealthy-looking.
In his right hand he's holding a folded rag. No, I still don't know why, and I don't want to know.

He walks over to the seat where the little girl is sitting and turns his back to the side of the chair. With his right hand stretching out behind him, he slowly lowers himself onto the edge of the seat while guiding the little girl off with his hand.

She has enough sense to move off the seat and stand in front of her dad. Who's f---ing clueless.
"That was weird," I think, along with half dozen other people who saw.

But now the SHPOS, sitting on the seat sideways, keeps his right hand out behind him. He strokes the front of the little girl's thigh. I'm not sure I'm seeing right. She squats down in front of her dad, not exactly sure what's going on. The SHPOS puts his hand on her hip. Dad is completely inattentive, has no clue. Only a second has passed since the SHPOS has sat down, but I now know what's going on and I'm on my feet and in front of the guy instantly.


He stands up and gets in my face. He's shorter than me, and I outweigh him by at least 30 pounds, but he's leaning forward with his chin in an unmistakably threatening pose. He doesn't speak-- I can't tell if he's too f---ed up to talk or just doesn't speak English.

I tell him to move down the car, and that people saw what he did.

Dad doesn't have a f---ing clue, and I don't want to start a s---storm by telling him, either.

Now the SHPOS is kind of nodding his chin at me like he's threatening me but can't talk. And his right rag-hand is too close for comfort, but my left is up. The only thing that worries me is that his left hand is by his ass pocket.

I'm pretty sure that he's too unsteady to hurt me, and that what I saw in his back pocket was a fifth of whisky (or some other more culturally appropriate beverege).

But it could be a knife, and I just do not feel like getting slashed by some f---ed-up pervert on the subway.

So my adrenaline is pumping awfully hard, and I have a feeling I'll be safer standing on this guy's throat than convincing him to go away. Plus I think it would be a real character-building experience for him if I were to stomp the living s--- out of him.

After a few long seconds he moves up the car a few steps, then kind of leans a step closer to Tenderfoot and looks at her. I step in front of him. He backs away down the car and sits down, glaring at me.

I sit down. I don't want to provoke him, so I'm sort of staring halfway between where he's sitting and where the dad and girl are sitting.

I ask the guys to my right if they saw what happened. They did, and were as shocked as I was. Not that they gave any indication of backing me up when I was facing off, or afterwards.

The dad is oblivious. When we reach his stop, he asks what station it is. He and his daughter leave.

A few minutes later the SHPOS gets up again and walks toward us, and I stand up. He turns around, walks in a little circle around the pole near his seat, then sits again.

Then, before his stop, he walks toward me another time.
I don't stand, but put my hands out like "Okay, enough, stop." And he leans his head to the side to let me know his stop is coming up. He gets out.

My fingers are trembling, I'm itching to throw someone on his head, and I'm generally disgusted.

Soon we reach our stop, and the beer garden.
Thank God for beer.

BJJ Move #8: In Guard: Passing: High Pass (a/k/a stacking pass)

Now that you've broken your opponent's legs apart, you're standing in his guard with his feet unclasped.
So far, so good.
Now, to move to a more advantageous position.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

In Guard: Passing: High Pass (a/k/a stacking pass):

Once his guard is broken (your right hand was planted on his chest when you started), squat low again.
One opportunity for this is when your opponent prevents the low pass (next BJJ move post) by pushing away to create space.
Bring your left elbow in tight to your hip, continuing to control his right leg. Put your right hand between his legs and around his left thigh, grabbing at his belt.
Kick your right leg back to get his leg over your shoulder, not just across your upper arm (for more leverage).
Put your weight forward onto his left leg, collapsing it onto him (try to touch his left knee to his nose). If your opponent is wearing a gi, put your right hand deep into his right lapel, choking him a bit with your forearm as you come around (a few steps ahead).
Keep his right knee pinned to the mat with your left hand. This prevents him from putting you in the triangle choke, always a hazard when you have one arm in and the other out.
Now push your weight onto him, folding his leg against his chest. When he is stacked up a bit, switch your left hand so it’s behind his butt / lower back. Now circle slowly to your right (counterclockwise).
When you're around a bit, switch your left arm to the back of his left leg and put your leg on the other side.
Keep circling until you have cross side (this move to come in a few days). Do not just throw his leg to your left and speed over to his side or you’ll end up back in his guard-—throw your hips forward, gluing them to his so he can’t put your back in guard.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Memailed #2: Dear Human Scientists

Human Scient15ts:

Please. I am an ad0le5cent male fruit fly six days of age. I do well in sch00l but I am just an ordinary guy. Listen.
I know from this piece in the NYT that you have altered the genes of some fruit flies to make them into lesbians.

My parents were really annoyed. Before they died last week on their 6-day anniversary they were all "Humans are playing God," and "Whatever happened to the sanctity of heterosexual mating?" and "What? It's not enough they make legs grow where antennae belong?"

But I was just quiet and ate my sap, thinking.

My girlfriend is a day younger than me and very shy. I don't think she'd ever gently touch the leg of another female and sing to her with her wings, let alone kiss one.

Still, I have fantasized about it happening ever since I read your article over the shoulder of The Litvak a few hours ago. As you can see, my GF is very hot (pic bel0w).

Could you make a fly who'd kiss my GF? I think she'd like it if she gave it a try.

P.S.: I like red eyes.

BJJ Move #7: Breaking the Guard Open - Standard Method

Getting stuck inside someone's guard is a pain in the butt.
You can't get away. You can't effectively punch or choke or anything. And he can mess you up as soon as you start to move around.

Here's a beginner's technique for opening the legs up.
It's honestly not the best technique because it takes a lot of energy and has to be done just right, but it does work if you do it right.
After you break his legs open, there are a number of techniques you can use to "pass the guard."

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Breaking the legs open - Standard Method:
-Reversal (setup)

First, put your hands on your opponent’s biceps and press your head against his chest to keep control of his hands and protect yourself from punches (if opponent is wearing a gi, pin his lapels over his shoulders).

Next, get good posture: you must be sitting up straight, with your shoulders back and your face pointing forward (don’t look down at your opponent).
Turn your right shoulder towards your opponent, and plant your right hand against his chest (if opponent is wearing a gi, gather his lapels together and hold them in your right fist against his chest).
Don’t put weight on this hand-—it’s only there to keep him from sitting up and doing a sweep.
Keep your right shoulder turned toward him for some protection against an armlock. Put your left hand on his right upper thigh or belt (grabbing his pants near his hip if he’s wearing a gi), with your left elbow against the inside of his knee. This controls his hips and protects you from armlocks and triangles. While his hip is trapped against the ground, he can’t do those techniques. The pressure from your left forearm / elbow against his inner thigh _may_ pop his legs apart.

Lift your right foot and put it close to your opponent’s butt/leg (keeping it close prevents him from grabbing your foot from the inside and sweeping you).

Pivot your left foot out about 30 degrees, and stand up into a squat, with your left foot at 90 degrees to your right foot. This should break the grip and create a space to put your hand through.

Turn your right knee in towards his body (counterclockwise) to help break his guard.

If you are having trouble creating space, push down on your opponent’s right knee from the top with your left elbow/arm as you push back with your body (digging your elbow into your opponent's thigh hurts, but won’t make a tough guy let go—the pushing will).

Or, use your left hand and reach behind you between his feet (not under his knee) and pull his feet apart.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Look Into My Eyes

According to this Scientific American article, humans who ingest the hormone oxytocin are mosre trusting.

While the subjects took oxytocin through a nasal spray, oxytocin is also released in the brain when we see adorable things like babies' pudgy little faces.

On that note, check out this BASKET OF PUPPIES, sucker!
Look at the picture. Let it sink in.
Now send me blank checks. Trust me.


How about THIS?
Puppy and Kitty
A puppy and a kitty!

Feel the power of the oxytocin coursing through your veins, bending you to my will.
Now mail me your retinas.
And your car keys.

Youse Wanna Hold Dat Door?

So, last night and the night before I went after work to help "Jack Roy" move his digs from the East Village to a new place five blocks away in Alphabet City.

JR is now about 10 times the old distance from his local bar-- five blocks instead of half a block. I expect sparse blogging on Litotical Construct as he goes through the Four Stages of Grief.

So. Moving.

Down five flights, into a van, up four flights.

JR has little furniture, but it is all fragile, covered in splinters, and has the uncanny quality of being able to move into a space and then not being able to move out of it.

In any case, helping someone move is better than a gym.

You get to do a moderate amount of three-dimensional thinking as you maneuver a mattress over parked cars, through doorways, up stairways, and into rooms.

You get to curse and double park and employ "youse" as the second person pronoun.

And you're not "working out." You can't maneuver a bureau up winding stairs to isolate your biceps, or look at yourself in a full-length mirror while doing it.
My legs, back and forearms are all tired. This means, in all likelihood, that I'm slightly better able to actually lift and carry things than I was three days ago.
And I haven't been "sculpted" and I didn't have to motivate myself to do some mind-numbingly boring abstract routine involving dumbbells.

Also, I got free falafel.

BJJ Move #6: Upa! ... Up & Over Escape from Mount

In the last 2 Moves posts I described the mount position and a submission from the mount.

Now, the easiest way out.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Bridge & Hip (“The Upa”) (reversal from mounted to in guard):

Your opponent has mounted you.

You need to trap one of his arms-- either:
-Grab around the outside of his left arm at the tricep with your right arm and secure his left wrist to your chest with your left hand; or
-Trap his left arm in your right armpit ("overhook"); or
-Drive your right arm under his left armpit from his chest to his back, and squeeze his left arm against to your own neck / right side of your head ("underhook").
You want to trap his left arm so he cannot extend it to his left as a base.

Now plant your right foot over and on the outside of your opponent’s left foot to trap it there.

Now that you have taken away his left foot and left arm, his base is very weak on his left side (your right side).
Put your left hand in his right hip, and put your left foot close to your butt, right next to your butt if you can. This is done so that your opponent will not be able to hook your leg when you bridge.

Using your left hand to push on his right hip, and using your left leg to bridge your opponent, bridge up, and turn your opponent to your right. Bridge him in the direction of your shoulder, not directly to your right.

After your bridge and roll, you will end up in your opponent’s guard.


-Don’t roll over 360 degrees; when you come around on top, plant your left hand or foot.
-Instead of pushing on his right hip, you may want to put your left hand out in the direction of your head, to help you turn over and then base out once you’ve reversed to guard.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

French Vacuum Train Sucks

Why do the French hate America?

A French-made vacuum train used to clean the subway tracks derailed early yesterday morning, totally f---ing up the F tracks half a station away from mine.

I ran to work yesterday, but the "extensive" damage (150 feet of rail dislodged, etc.) means I had to take the geriatric "R" train to work today. And will have to run to work every day, because the R takes twice as long as running.

No doubt the MTA will eventually admit that it was driving the car too fast.

But for now, I'll just do what feels right, and blame the French.

NYT's Schoolgirl Crush on Blogs

Today's NYT editorial on W. Mark Felt revealing that he is Deep Throat reveals more than it says.

Just the latest evidence of the NYT's schoolgirl crush on blogs and bloggers.
And, while they don't mean me, the feeling is mutual, I'm sure.
You a cutie, NYT.

First, the Times publishes goofy article upon goofy article about blogs (I won't bother linking to them).
Then, after everyday giggly banter (references to dreamy Clark Kent, jokes about how much fun it was to guess Deep Throat's identity), it teases blogs for being so silly:

[G]iven the current temper of the times, it's likely that by tomorrow at least a few bloggers will have set about trying to prove that it wasn't really him after all.

Now, blogs are the 8-year-old class clown to the NYT's serious 8-year-old schoolgirl who really, really wants to be liked.

The Times knows the class clown is smarter than he acts, maybe he could start tucking his shirt in, and won't he please stop pointing out every time she's wrong? Boys are so stupid!

BJJ Move #5: Americana from the Mount

In the last BJJ Move post I described the mount position.

Now, a straightforward shoulderlock from there.

When practicing, don't forget to tap when someone's applying the move on you-- and if you're applying the move, stop when your partner taps!

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Americana (a/k/a Figure-Four, Paintbrush) from the Mount:

From the mount, you can attempt this technique when your opponent takes a boxing guard with his arms to avoid punches, or just raises an elbow.

First, use both arms and use your weight on his right wrist as leverage to push his right arm down flat at a 90-degree angle to his body, with his elbow bent at about 90 degrees. Do not use your right thumb around his wrist until his arm is flat.

Now bring your right knee up under his left shoulder and bring your right elbow against his neck (by his right ear) so that the two control his head.

Next, bring your left arm under his right arm and grab the top of your own right wrist ("t-stack").

Pull his elbow down (toward his feet), and make sure his wrist is flat on the ground; you also want to drag the back of his hand down on the mat, like you’re “painting” with it.

Using your left forearm as a lever, lift his elbow to break his shoulder. Although you want his elbow low before you start, you don’t want to bring it so low that his forearm and upper arm are close to parallel; they should still be near perpendicular, or you won’t be able to lock, and his arm will just bend up towards his head.
Two ways to make the lock tighter are (1) turning his right wrist away from you with your right hand, like you’re revving a motorcycle; and (2) pulling his elbow toward his body, instead of parallel to his body toward his feet.


Get head control: swim your arms inside his and get one (here, the left) around his head.
Lean your weight onto his neck, turning his head to his left.
Your weight should be off to the right, so he can’t turn you to the left, and your right hand bases out to the right to keep from being turned that way.

With your right hand, pin his left wrist to the mat (his palm faces the ceiling, looks like he’s waving hello).

Now pin his hand with your forehead as well.

Drag the hand close to his ear, and hold his wrist down with your left hand, palm down.

Release your right hand and bring it underneath his upper arm to grab on top of your left wrist (“t-stack”).

Pin his arm close to the mat, and drag his hand down toward his feet like you’re “painting” the floor with the back of his hand.

Moving his elbow down makes the lock much tighter. Pop your left arm out from behind his head and put your left elbow against his left ear.

Now lever his arm up with your right forearm while immobilizing his hand with your left.

The next move is an escape from the mount position back to being inside your opponent's guard.