Another week working on half guard techniques. I tried to walk in to class focused on the two things I needed to improve: staying low and tight in boa and getting up on my knees into dogfight. I had the opportunity to drill with one of ladies getting ready for competition this weekend and for some reason I had a much easier time getting up into dogfight than I had previous nights; although looking back I don’t know if it’s because I was actually doing anything more right than normal…or if it was because she was closer to my size. I’m leaning more towards size and less towards I’m staring to know what I’m doing.
Either way the techniques are beginning to feel much less foreign and I’m starting to focus more on little nuances instead of spending a lot of time thinking, “Wait, what am I supposed to do next? Is this right? I think my arm in in the wrong place. Why are my arms so short?!” This is great because I’ve spent a lifetime contemplating my astonishingly disproportionally short arm length and I could use a break from it.
So it’s Thursday night and I’m driving to class, amped up to get some more reps in and as I walk onto the mats it occurs to me: “It’s Thursday night…that means it’s strength and conditioning night!” But by then it was too late, I was already there, already committed, already condemned to a night of planks and wall sits and slow motion push ups.
Class was also huge! There were at least 10 ladies there and just as many men. It was exciting to see so many people training and to see so many women in one class but a lot of people also meant a lot of heat and it was definitely hot in class, which made strength and conditioning that much more grueling. The term “hot as Hades” doesn’t even begin to describe what it felt like in our gym that night.
Side note: Remind me some time to talk about how curly hair, bangs, humidity/heat and jiu jitsu really don’t mix. I swear I look the most disheveled when I leave class. I’m going to pretend it’s because I’m working hard but I think it might just be my thin but plentiful curly Irish-Persian hair.
I told myself I would push a little harder during strength and conditioning this week and for the most part I feel like I was successful with that but I also still feel like I quit on myself too soon most of the time. I’m not used to pushing myself past my comfort zone mentally or physically and I really struggle with strength exercises. One of the ladies asked me after class how I did and when I shared my feelings with her on this subject she suggested setting small goals for myself. If I only did a few push ups tonight, try and do one more than that next week. If I only lasted 10 or 20 seconds during planks, shoot for 30 or 40 the next time.
I later told my boyfriend that I feel like there is a beast somewhere inside of me but instead of waiting to be let out of her cage she’s hibernating for a long long….long…winter.
I didn’t make three classes this week because I skipped Friday class to stay home and help my boyfriend cut a few pounds before weigh-ins for his competition on Saturday. By the end of a few very sweaty hours in a hot bathroom, my boyfriend had made weight and I had come to the slightly depressing realization that by the time he reached his competition weight, he officially weighed less than me. I am at least a few inches shorter than him and to say there is a disparity in our body fat content would be an understatement. It is inhumanely fit and I am extra fluffy.
We talked for awhile about my weight and how it would affect me if I were to decide to compete. I haven’t been weighing myself since I started jiu jitsu. My boyfriend assures me I am getting smaller but I’ve learned that the scale tends to demotivate me if I pay too much attention to it so I’ve been avoiding it and focusing on more positive and attainable goals (like getting to class three times a week, getting cardio in when I can, and making smarter choices in terms of my meals).
I know about where my weight is and I know that if I were to compete at this weight it would be against women who are definitely a lot bigger than me. Reference my Ragdoll post for reasons this idea does not appeal to me.
When I spoke to one of our higher ranked females about this she said I shouldn’t let my weight keep me from competing when I feel like I’m ready but I’m not sure if she realizes how much I actually weigh. My boyfriend says I appear a lot lighter than I am. I guess it’s something to think about as far as long term goals…for now I’m more focused on learning to finish some of these sweeps properly.
This was my first time attending a jiu jitsu competition, and aside from being nervous for my boyfriend and all my teammates, and being insanely hot, it was great. I guess I’ve forgotten how hot it can get in a high school gyms stuffed to capacity during the California summer months. I think I was sweating more at the competition than I do in class. I’m pretty sure anyone who needed to cut weight could have just sat in that gym for a few hours before weigh ins and been fine. Note to self: next time wear a tank top and bring more water. Bring all the water you can find.
I was so impressed and motivated by the amount of heart my teammates displayed. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to go out there and put everything on the mats the way they did. All the pressure and expectation…from within and from others. There were people competing who had only been training a few months! It has taken a lot of courage and determination for me just to show up to class consistently for the last month there’s no way I would think about competing yet.
I felt really honored and humbled to be able to be there and show support for them. If I learned anything this weekend it’s that competing brings a whole new set of emotions and anxieties to jitsu that I haven’t even begun to contemplate. But they seem like in the end they’ll make you better.
Here’s a video of my boyfriend’s final match (what I mean is, here is where I make a shameless plug for my boyfriend). Check him out on Instagram @artofwwaarr.
On Sunday I sat with my boyfriend and one of our female teammates and reviewed some of the matches. My boyfriend broke down some of the good and bad things that were done and gave us both some foundational pointers relating to his matches as well as hers. I had no idea how beneficial this would be. I’ve noticed my brain is starting to shift from simply seeing a couple of people rolling around on the ground to attempting to identify different positions and searching to figure out what each person is attempting to do. Are they trying to sweep? Escape? Submit? Pass? Why? And I’m picking up little things like why it’s important to get an undertook or a whizzer or why you want to protect your arms or neck in certain positions. How is wrist control or head control important here or here?
I say that things are starting to come together more clearly but I want you to take that with a grain of salt. I still have no idea what I’m doing. In fact I’m pretty sure that even if I could get into a dominant position with someone I wouldn’t know what to do with it. Ok, I’m in mount, now what?? Perhaps my laser eye mean mugg will be enough to submit them!
I imagine this is what it was like when we were a babies and something as simple as a set of keys was enchanting. It’s so bright and shiny! It makes noise! It’s not until later you realize the keys actually have purpose. Keys open doors and take you places?! What??? I’m definitely still at the bright and shiny phase with jiu jitsu and I’m okay with that. I have plenty of time to consider the doors that could potentially open in the future.