first day with my Gi

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Psyched to be back

So, for people who've met me in the last 3 years, the cover photo of my first day in a Gi, has been quite a laugh!  I took a friend's first white belt photo last night, so she can look back at it later in her bjj journey :-)

Monday, July 13, 2015

The devil is in the detail

Going to three classes in a week about half guard sweeps was fantastic.  Sure, it's easy to zone out for a second, but besides practice, the brain can build on existing knowledge and notice more of the detail.  That's one thing I loved about Bikram Yoga.  The postures and sequence are exactly the same every time, so every class brings new opportunities to do something just the tiniest bit differently and absorb new tips and tricks a little bit at a time. 

In Jiu-Jitsu, one little detail can be the difference of something working, especially for us smaller practitioners.  Particularly learning from different instructors with different body types and practiced 'games'  I pick up things to try for myself.  I like when instructors can teach by the book and also insert some wisdom from practice.  Particularly with the complication of bjj being fluid with partners and transitions, it helps to use the wisdom of the room as well.  The coach's uki was asked about how he would explain using the Wizzer for a single leg defense, and I found some insight from the varied perspective.  He ended up talking about using the arm to create space first instead of just wrapping the leg right away, and also about changing angles to have a better chance to pull one's leg from between the other person's legs, and around to the outside.  I know for me, if my leg was already being controlled, I would be done, so squaring up for a second just creates a different type of movement and chance to free my leg and continue. 


So... At least years on the mat did something.  My brain needs some reminders, but my body knows exactly what to do.  I rolled with a more advanced blue belt, and started feeling out what I remember and what I needed reminders about.  My instincts about defense and positioning are working well.  My memory of submissions needs a bit of study.  It was a lot of fun to play around and see what happens.  My uki was really great about pausing at points to talk about options and where to go from here.  That's what is usually great about bjjyms -- the people.  I think that the saying, 'a rising tide lifts all ships' applies here.  when we teach each other, we refine our own technique and build better training partners. 

I worked until I was so tired that I had no more will power to fight.  Some of that is cardio to work on, and some of that is mental fortitude to work on.  In climbing, the saying is 'climb until you fall.'  For me, with both bjj and climbing, I think it is climb or fight until I panic, and work through it.  That's a win in my book.  I haven't panicked on the mat in a long time, but i'm sure it will happen again soon, and it will be a growth experience.  Part of these challenge sports for me, are playing with my own edges of comfort and fear.  It's scary that I could just give up, but I guess I can pay attention to when I give up, and how much further I can push myself next time. 

Each day brings a new experience, depending on the emotional and physical strength I bring onto the mat (or other activity) that day, and so I find comfort in doing the best I can on that day, in that moment. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Like Riding a Bike

years have passed.  I married and divorced the one who got me on the mat in the first place.  It's been quite a journey.  I stand today, more proud and determined than ever.  Sorry blog for not writing to you when I got my blue belt.  I did.  And now, after months, the emotional scars have become my badges of courage, and I had my first class back at the bjjym (where my ex-husband is a muy thai instructor).  I was proud to wear my blue belt.  It means more to me now, coming back, and realizing just how important it is to be a 100lb woman with a renewed motivation and conviction to be a role model.  As myself.  Not as a fighter's wife.  Determined to persist at the art I've grown to claim my own - as 'one of the hardest thing's I've ever done.'  I'm proving how strong I am each day through a big life transition, and now jiu-jitsu suddenly seems more about fun and just staying in the game than about proving something to myself.  In my months off of the mat, I discovered rock climbing, and that was a similar challenge that helped me grow and face fear head on.  I'll continue that, and appreciate the inspiration I've gained. 

... back on the mat tonight.  new photo to come soon. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gracie Diet

After getting Helio Gracie’s book, the “Gracie Diet” has peaked Gary’s and my interest.  Since training Jiu-Jitsu until 90 years old has always been the goal, who better to be a role model than the Grand Master himself?!    He was teaching and training on the mat until 10 days before he died… at 95!   That would definitely be success in the health category to me.  Helio and his sons claim this nutritional lifestyle as part of their family’s great success, in the ring and at the playground.  Recounting increased energy and cured ailments, Rorion’s book lays out the diet, process and rationale behind the 65 years of informal research and benefit that have given his family increased strength of body and of mind. 

Beyond physical health, this diet is about discipline.  The translation from Portuguese is, “The Rational Nutritional Regimen.”  At least two of these words were not previously in my dietary vocabulary.  I have gained a greater awareness of my eating habits as being largely emotional and unstructured.  I could always rationalize my eating habits as small meals more often or necessities for avoiding low blood sugar.  I would self-identify as “living to eat, not eating to live,”  but the truth is, I would eat all day long and snack as I please.  I let my every whim and impulse take over, so this new way of eating will be a grand and majestic gesture of mind over body.  I will have to think about what I eat, and when I eat, implementing a new element of planning throughout my days… Wish me luck, as I embark on my newest challenge; all moving toward my overall Jiu-Jitsu goals of greater strength in mind and body. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just Like Kindergarten...

The goal:  "Keep your hands to yourself."  I know this, and yet, I've been getting arm barred like crazy.  Yes, sometimes upper belts catch my arm where it shouldn't be, but there are so many times when I am conscientious of keeping my arms in, and they get yanked and pulled at.  I fight like hell the whole way, but usually the end result is that they get my arm enough where I'll just tap.  Arm bars are also not usually a move that I will see or attempt.  I know training is the perfect time to try it, but I don't usually have enough control to make the move work for me.  Generally, a risky move.  I'm much more comfortable with triangles and chokes.  I will be more watchful of doing and avoiding the arm bar positioning.  Once they can even reach my arm, it's almost too late in most cases. 

It Finally Happened...

      I'm starting to like jiu-jitsu.  It took a year, and I still feel like newer people surpass me, but I find myself searching the internet and wanting to read jiu-jitsu magazines.  I even enjoyed watching UFC fights, not just the social part of it.  
     I read an article about Kyra Gracie in Jiu-Jitsu Style magazine that had me searching around for any seminars that she will be doing, and thinking about when I can be in NY and take a private lesson from her.  There was also an article about women training Jiu-Jitsu.  While, it would be neat to hear more about women in the U.S. to connect with, this article about the UK was certainly relatable. There was still the sentiment about size as more significant than gender in a training partner.  I don't like it when issues of gender inequality are completely ignored.  While the act of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training is practical, and may feel comfortable for women in many cases, I don't think it can be a vacuum where societal context doesn't matter at all.  Much of my experience is as a sisterly role to the 30 and over men, which is not necessarily a bad experience. But when i'm rolling with someone that says, "good girl,"  i know it is a supportive compliment, but it does exemplify how it's a 'woman's role' to be taken care of and protected.  
     I definitely work hard on defense, no matter who I grapple, but if I am in an offensive position against someone who is big and strong like a tree trunk, it feels like trying to bend steel to break their posture in my guard, or like i am a little feather if i am on top.  Let's just stay positive and say that I get an extra good workout  :-)