Brown Haze

This morning I went down to get my gi from the laundry rack. And I had a bit of a scare seeing my purple belt hanging up there. “Oh, no, I’ve gotta put that in my bag!… …. wait a minute…”

On the one hand, a very large weight has been lifted. I’m no longer wondering what else I have to do to be promoted. I’m no longer tracking if the instructor is watching everything I do. I’m no longer critiquing every little movement as to whether it’s “purple belt level” (let alone brown belt level, goodness) or not; everything feels like a nice brown haze, lol. Even when the biggun’ white belt tossed me around last week and sat on me and I seriously considered tapping to pressure (because omg the pressure), still a brown haze.

I also feel more free to try stuff, and it feels like things are working better. I feel like I might be rolling better and more fluid even with the people who don’t roll that way back, probably mostly because I’m not putting so much pressure on myself.

On the other hand, if I think about it too much, I panic: they expect me to know jiu-jitsu now! And my brain blanks out and claims it doesn’t know any. I taught the Friday morning before I was promoted, and it was no big deal because I’ve been teaching morning classes now for months. Then Tim asked me to teach a morning last week after being promoted, and I panicked; when one of the black belts showed up that morning, I turned it over to him instead because I couldn’t think of anything to teach. (I did feel silly afterward, but at the time, just pure panic.)

I did stop training 2-a-days. I had already dropped Fridays because I was wiped out by the end of the week. Then at the beginning of this month, Tim suggested that I train a bit less because I seemed tired and burned out. So I started taking the evenings off, which also let me get back to doing things around my house (all my other evenings are taken up with other things). I did feel a lot better in the mornings, though I was missing some of the people from the evenings. I’d already decided to go to class that Wednesday evening that ended up being my promotion, so I did go then.

And zomg, only crazy people do 2-a-days! I even just played around with one of the other ladies for 2 rounds and then sat another. I was d.e.a.d. the next two days. I have no idea how I did 2-a-days for so many months.

So I’m still on mornings only. I intend to try to do 1 evening every few weeks and/or go to Saturday open mat sometimes so I can train with those folks, though knowing that I’ll likely be wrecked again after.

So that happened

This morning at class, I was promoted to brown belt. Just last week was my 13th anniversary of starting BJJ.

1.5 years at white, 5 years at blue, and 6.5ish (minus 1 month) at purple. My Green Gi belt has been through a lot and will finally get a rest:

I have been meaning to post recently, and I guess this is a good enough reason. I might have more thoughts later; I’m still in “wait, what?” mode.

New year, same me

Forgetting to update, that is. The holidays have chopped up my training times (e.g., I took the last 2 weeks completely off), but I’m still intending to train at 2 classes each on MWF. Somehow in those 2 weeks of not training, though, I managed to hurt myself? I thought resting was supposed to make things better, not worse. My left hip/leg seems to lock up after I’ve been sitting for a while. Now that I’m back to class, it warms up quickly and rolls fine and doesn’t do it there, though the leg does feel a bit weaker, perhaps.

A new lady starting training before the holidays. As I was showing her stuff and repeatedly assuring her that she was not hurting me (she’s tiny), she suddenly said, “You mean I get to be violent?! I never get to be violent!” She was so excited; it was great.

One of the blue belt women has started to train again, hurray! Purple belt lady stopped in and said she’s planning to come back as soon as she can (though that may still be a while due to other things). Oh, oh — and a new lady just moved to town and she’s a brown belt!! Starry eyes?! Starry eyes, check! I got to roll with her yesterday morning and zomg that was awesome. (Also: watch out for those triangles.)

“I suddenly couldn’t breathe!”

New guy in class this morning. Tim had me roll with him for his first round. I caught a choke. He tapped and looked around a bit wide-eyed. “I suddenly couldn’t breathe!”

Yes, dear, that’s how chokes work.

There was another new guy a couple weeks ago. Same choke, only he didn’t tap, so I just held it and waited and tightened it a little bit. Tim suddenly came over and said, “Do you know how to tap?” Kid shook his head. Oops! I released and then we taught him about tapping.

On the injury front, I got dropped on my head one night. I’d locked on to a guy’s turtle and was trying to take his back; he locked on to me and rolled sideways, driving my head straight down into the mat. Ow. I tapped to that, then sat out the rest of the night. No concussion, though it did jack up my already jacked-up shoulder (which I hurt stretching in bed one morning, bleh).

Another day, I had my ankle taped up. It wasn’t actually injured; I had a massive mat burn on one side that wasn’t healing (because it kept getting scraped off), so had taped it — and of course, with jiu-jitsu, you gotta tape everything like you broke it, or it comes right off in the first roll. I rolled with a visiting guy; he didn’t ask about my ankle, but he dove immediately for an ankle lock on the taped side. Duuuuuuuuude….. -.-

I’ve still been filling in teaching in the mornings when needed. Last week, I taught all the morning classes! I still panic and get nervous before teaching and worry that I’ll do it completely wrong. Then sometimes when I sit out a round due to odd numbers, I see the guys doing the moves that I taught them (and it works!) and I feel like maybe I might know what I’m doing. (They even sometimes use my moves on me, and that also makes me happy.)

My game still feels like 1 tiny step forward, 3 giant steps back, sigh. I’ve been working on butterfly spinny-hooky stuff, and that’s going alright enough, but now my passing is garbage. I can usually have decent success with stuff on white and blue belts and sometimes with purples (when they want to play). But most of the time the purples massacre me, and the blacks, sheesh, we’re not even playing the same game. Feels like as much of a gap between me and them as what that new guy this morning seemed to feel with me. (He kept stopping to say, “What just happened?!” or “How did you do that?!”)

I’m still training 3 mornings and 3 evenings. It is kind of a lot, and by Friday night especially, I’m tired. And Friday night is nogi, so that’s not a great time to be tired, because everyone’s slippery and I can’t slow them down with grips. Still, I don’t know how long this window of time to get more training in will last, so I’m getting there as much as I can.

Big Ten

I am glad that — because my company is still working from home (some folks are still completely bunkered in their houses) — I’ve been able to train in the mornings. Besides Tim, none of the instructors and only some sporadic blues can come in the mornings right now, which means if Tim can’t be there, I’ve been able to step in and teach so we at least have class. I’ve now taught a total of 10 times in the last 3 months.

I feel completely inadequate each time. And also a bit annoyed at myself for feeling that way, because I’ve been training a long time and so I ought to know how to teach some things. But I still near-panic.

On the other hand, teaching white belts is sometimes hilarious, like when you watch one try to drill to the other side and his brain just breaks and he sits there & stares into the distance. It is also fun to see them try the thing I just taught them, even if they do try it out on me first, lol.

Even three months in, training twice a day, three days a week, is still tiring. We have Saturday morning open mats again, but I’ve only been to the one about a month ago to work with the new blue belt lady. (Unfortunately our schedules do not overlap right now, so I haven’t gotten to train with her since then.) Instead I’ve been spending Saturday mornings on projects around the house. Last weekend I painted my kitchen from an orangey-red (which was oh so glorious in the early morning sun) to the same mid-gray that’s in the rest of the house. Because it’s a vaulted ceiling above the cabinets and because I’m short, this involved me standing on a step-stool on top of the counters so I could reach the top of the wall. (No one ever said I was all that smart, lol. But it worked out.) The kitchen is now even more glorious; I think it always wanted to be gray and just didn’t know how to tell me.