Not allergic to grass any more?

I’m not making any claims here, this is just an observation.

I cut the grass this morning.  It took about three hours.  To prepare for cutting the grass in normally try to cover as much of my skin as I possibly can. Even in the summer I typically wear a flannel shirt, or something else with long sleeves, and jeans.  One particular pair of jeans – my grass cutting jeans.  I wear my old hunting boots, and a pair of gloves.  Only my face is exposed.  The second I finish cutting the grass I run straight in to the house and take a cold shower.

I do all this because I’m allergic to grass, of course.  I’m allergic to fescue grass, which is pretty much the kind everyone has.  I don’t swell up and die if a piece of grass touches me, but it does make me really miserable.  My skin gets itchy any place grass (fresh cut in particular) touches me, and I normally sneeze about 30 – 40 times while I cut the grass, and then more later throughout the day.  I have the typical allergic reaction. I’m normally better by the following day.

When I finally managed to drag myself out of bed today it was hot and muggy.  I mean disgustingly hot and muggy.  I threw on a t-shirt and my grass-cutting jeans, and cut the grass.  I was halfway through cutting the grass before I realized that my arms weren’t covered.  At the same time I realized I hadn’t sneezed a single time.

I finished cutting the grass and chopped down 3 trees, and I never sneezed a single time.  My arms didn’t itch at all, even though I was soaked in sweat and my arms were covered in all sorts of nature.

I stopped eating dairy a couple of weeks ago.  Something I’ve been allergic to all my life didn’t bother me today.  I’m not saying there’s a connection, I’m just pointing out that it’s kind of interesting.  We’ll see…

More on the Rules from Chris

Also originally posted on 7/10/06 as “More Rules – Pressure”

More from the Chris Moriarty seminar.  Our conversation really made me reevaluate the way I think about pressure.

I always hear about the need to create pressure from the top.  I work on it every time I roll, trying to feel as heavy as I can to the person on the bottom. 

There’s a technique to this, and it has very little to do with just being heavy. I’m about 240 lbs, and from side control I feel like – about 240 lbs. Klint Radwani from Yamasaki weighs around 175, but when he gets in side control it feels like there’s a tank parked on your chest.  I can’t explain exactly what he’s doing, other than keeping his hips as low to the ground as possible.

In the Chris Moriarty seminar, he mentioned “playing light” from side control.  I thought I must have heard him wrong!  He intentionally plays light?  He briefly explained how this allows him to flow with the person on the bottom, and set up the next move.  Later we discussed this in more detail.

“How do I apply pressure?” is the wrong question to ask.  “Where should I apply pressure?” is a better question, but still off the mark.  The real question is, “Why should I apply pressure?” 

Chris demonstrated this to me from side control. I’m on the bottom, so obviously I want to escape. Chris feels mostly like he’s hovering over me, except his shoulder is in my face and his elbow in my hip.  There is no pressure on my chest or stomach.  I turn in to him a little and shrimp.  Chris is right there on me.  I shrimp more.  We’re moving across the room. Chris is still right on me.  He did apply pressure, of course.  He just didn’t apply pressure everywhere.  His goal isn’t to simply flatten me in to a pancake, it’s to shut down my escape plan.  It’s very effective.

So there’s pressure, and then there’s pressure. Crushing someone’s chest from side control will certainly make them uncomfortable, but understanding the rules of side control allows to apply pressure just where it’s needed.  In this case, I guess the rule is if you can’t move your head, and you can’t move your hip, you can’t move.

Chris Moriarty’s rules

This was originally posted as “The Rules” on 7/10/06, although I don’t recall where.  Maybe bjjnews.org (which seems to no longer exist). There’s no big secrets to Jiu Jitsu here, but I was somewhat new to BJJ when I went to this seminar, and it had a big impact on me.

I recently attended a great seminar by Chris Moriarty. The format was a bit different than previous seminars I’ve done. He took more a philosophical approach. The focus was primarily sweeps and maintaining the guard.  He spent a fair amount of time discussing concepts he referred to as “the rules.” The rules are simple ideas that in a given situation will always apply. Chris didn’t focus on attacks or tricks from the guard, instead pointing out that all the tricks in the world are not helpful if you can’t simply hold someone in your guard, or at least quickly recompose it when they attempt to pass.  He showed a variety of creative ways to recompose the guard that I found fun to work.

He also talked at length before, during and after the seminar about what it means to truly understand a move.  I’ll give you an example: In your mind, picture yourself putting someone in a triangle – I’ll wait.
Okay, now what did you just picture? 9/10 of you just got an image of you on your back, opponent kneeling in your guard, one arm in, one arm out, you’re up on your shoulders finishing the triangle.  Right?  You applied your preconceived notions about this move to the image you created.  Why didn’t you imagine doing the triangle from mount? From the back? Flying triangle? Inverted?  Triangles are everywhere, if you learn to see them.  The common element, the thing to remember, is as simple as “One arm in, one arm out.”  Remember that, and find triangles everywhere you look – it’s “the rule” for triangles!

If you can break down every move you do to its most basic elements you can learn to apply them from anywhere.

True Tests of a Diet

I’ve tried a hundred fad diets for at least a short period.  Almost every diet I’ve tried has failed one or more of the big three 3 tests any diet must pass to be sustainable – Weekends, Holidays, and Travel.

I’ve been in Richmond for a couple of weeks, and I’m not aware of any holidays.  But of course, we did just have a weekend.  So, how did my dairy free diet experiment fare this weekend?

Terribly.  I guess the problems started Saturday night when I was grilling some burgers.  We had a few people over to watch the PPV Affliction fight card (meh) and the free UFC card (good). I was grilling some of my favorite burgers, which come with cheese in them.  Although people people were just starting to arrive, the “party” had been going on for a few hours for me.  I kinda fell asleep at the wheel and burgers started to burn.  For once it wasn’t because I walked away and forgot about them!  Anyway, I shuffled some stuff around and got the flames under control, but one of the burgers was beyond hope.  It was completely charred.  I like burnt meat, so I decided instead of bringing that one in the house I’d just eat it right there.  It still hadn’t occurred to me that there was cheese in the burger.  The best part is I knew I couldn’t eat it on a bun, because there was milk in the buns!  So I stood there at the grill and ate this charred hunk of meat-cheese.  I realized what I had done about an hour later.  Oh well.

The next morning I was at the US Grappling Referee Certification seminar at Richmond BJJ.  We brought in platters of sandwiches from Costco.  There was one platter of wraps with cheese in them.  It wasn’t practical to take apart the wrap to remove the cheese.  The other platter had croissants with meat and cheese.  It was easy to take the cheese off those.   Now this was a totally different kind of diet break down.  Unlike the night before when I was just wasted and didn’t realize what I was doing, this time I made a conscious decision to eat the sandwich, sans cheese, even though I know it takes tons of butter to make croissants.  I had to eat, and I knew I was hours away from being able to get anything else.

Later that night I very nearly scooped some vanilla ice cream on to a piece of apple pie (dairy free pie) before a friend reminded me that it most certainly contained dairy.  I’m just terrible at this.

So is today day 1 again?  I’ll never get to a month!

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