first day with my Gi

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Whole New World

New school, new moves... back to survival. I was almost embarrassed by my two little stripes on my white belt. I realize that it's just a new style that I'm not familiar with, and that it means I have a whole new area for growth... but on my first day at our new 'BJJym,' I felt like I hardly knew anything. There was a new big, strong girl for me to contend with. I survived this time, but I know I can do better. Once I figure out how they start grappling from butterfly guard and get my back, I'll be in better shape. It's a game-changer, but I'm up for the challenge.

We did a lot of new drills, which, once I learn the moves, will be great for agility and movement. As a little person, I definitely could use the added speed to my advantage. I also liked that the instructor stressed gaining muscle memory for the movements. I felt like it was a good learning environment.

And now.. On to a new chapter of my BJJ adventure...

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Good Body Awareness"

At the new school, I happened to be the only white belt in the class. I've been training for a year now, so, 1. I knew that there wasn't much pressure to perform, and 2. that I know at least enough to follow along and get by in rolling with their blue belts. It turned out to be a good experience. I usually like training with higher belts. Yes, they can beat me up, but they are likely to be more relaxed and in control, and have nothing to prove with me.

In terms of style, I noticed a difference, but Gary was able to tell more. With one blue belt that was pretty easy going, I was able to make adjustments to my game based on his reactions, which I was quite proud of myself for :-) When I went to pass his guard, he caught me in half guard. After a couple of times, I was able to be proactive and control the one leg with the knee-threw pass, but I also paid attention to controlling the other leg with my arm to get by. I did learn that detail of grabbing the pant as a step, but now I will remember it because I experienced the reason behind it.

Another blue belt had great use of technique. I am sensitive to the difference between technique and strength, because I have been muscled around many a time. (not surprising, of course, since 99% of my training partners have been much stronger than I am). While we were rolling, his foot got stuck in a sweep. Even though he was in control, I saw that he might be in a bad position. I asked, "is your foot okay?" He laughed and said, "thanks for noticing. you have good body awareness." That was a nice thing to hear. We stopped and started again. It felt like the truest sense of the word, 'training.' nothing was a big deal. no ego. it didn't matter who had advantage. it was clear, though, that not getting hurt for silly reasons is very important. I like to think that if I tap out today, I'll survive to train another day.

After class, I talked to this same guy, and mentioned that I noticed his consistent use of technique. Turns out, he had some training experience at a gym with really big guys. I know that concept well.. combat strength with technique, or give up right then. I told him about when I first started and had to just figure out basic survival. Nothing else happens if I can't survive. I would think to myself, "Don't get crushed. Turn to the side! turn to the side!" I told him that "Pancakes are only for breakfast!" He liked that one.

School Shopping

I had my first experience at a different bjj school than the one I started at. Of course my first school has a special place in my heart, but I really do think it was a special place. Gary has trained at a lot of school's, and he really loved this one. The teacher and community are incredible. When we moved to that part of Florida, it gave us a place to feel connected. Now that we've moved again, it's been tough finding a new place to train. Gary is an advanced Purple Belt, so he needs higher belts to train with. I am new, so my wish list includes a good teacher and supportive environment. We tried one place that is 45 minutes away. The instructor is a great practitioner and competitor. He is a nice guy, but it was just far, expensive and has a contract. He wasn't a good enough teacher to combat all of that. We are trying another closer place with no contract and a decent price tomorrow. Hopefully it will be a pretty good option, and we will start training regularly again. We've been in transition between two cities for a couple of months now, so we'll be glad to settle in and get back on track with our health and jiu-jitsu practice.