New Black Belt

Brant was awarded his black belt last night, cheer! (Also: freaking. finally.) Rolling with Brant is like rolling with melting butter: he waits for you to move, slides around, moves just a hair, and you are in a very bad place.

Blake (who moved here as a black belt) got his first stripe on his black belt. Hilariously, last night was also the night he had forgotten his own belt, so he instead got a stripe on a spare black belt.

Two guys, Finn and TR, also got their purples in a double-belt-smacking after a round (not rolling with each other, though I think Tim had kinda tried to make that happen while trying not to be too obvious. It did not work itself out, oh well.).

I took the whole of Thanksgiving week off, from Saturday to Saturday, to let injuries and bumps and bruises heal at least a little bit. Last night I felt every bite of those four pies and all the rest.


Oh, wait, that’s not a great one to celebrate — 1-year anniversary of not posting! Oops. 😮

On the other hand, the update is pretty easy: I’m pretty much exactly where I was a year ago, still training, usually 3 times a week. Still feels like a 1 step forward, 3 steps back kind of thing; most days I’d gladly be demoted to white belt again, as I don’t feel I’ve progressed much past that. Then there are odd days where the stars align, the clouds part, and everything just seems to work flawlessly, and I leave confused as to who was hijacking my body that class.

I have at least been using the BJJ Bujo pages almost every training session, though. Here’s 2019 in Bujo form:


The “rank” column is my assessment of the training that day. Recently I added the red for “out with injury” and yellow for “…I deserve a kids’ belt…”. (An “X” means I didn’t train on a scheduled day.)

That big splotch of red in the second one was a broken pinky toe. Someone swept me and everything moved… except my toe. It went snap instead. It hurt (though I did finish that round, heh). Now it seems to be mostly fine, though I still keep it taped in class, and it does hurt if someone stomps on it, which does happen.

I see a few notes that remind me of stories from those nights:

  • “New guy” was not new! — guy came to gi class in shorts and a t-shirt. Claimed to have no training, so Tim put him with me for his first round. He did rolling kneebars, spinning armbars, John-flipping-Danaher Back Attack System. Sure you’ve never trained before? Really? Okay, buddy. I was so confused, though, as I was expecting normal brand-new guy stuff and couldn’t adjust to this new look; I should have controlled him more, though I did manage to escape everything as he had no pressure or control. I was annoyed with myself later for not being able to switch gears.
  • White belt asked how much I weigh — this was just last night. New white belt dude, who to his credit was trying very hard to not just fling me around even if it meant I passed his guard. He asked how much I weigh and then immediately got a horrified look on his face and said, “I mean, if that’s okay to ask! If it’s not, I’m sorry! I mean, you felt so heavy, I just–!” I laughed and assured him it was fine, that jiu-jitsu is a place you can ask that of a lady and not get slapped.


About a month ago, I got in to Bullet Journaling (BuJo), which scratches the twin itches of my need for planning/order and my desire to write all the things, while also letting me do all that on my own terms. So far, going fantastically well. (After a month going absolutely bonkers overboard with color and stencils and all the collections [I filled an entire notebook in one month. I did say ALL the things.], I’m in a new journal using just a black pen and a ruler.)

Two things a lot of people use their journals for is to track habits and to track moods. I do have a small habit tracker almost hidden in my weekly layout (and the things I track are actually built into my morning and evening routines, so they’re hard for me to miss), but trying to track moods or anything else didn’t seem helpful to me.

Until I decided to make a BJJ page, and came up with the “BJJ Mood Tracker” :

Date Rank Notes

(date and rank columns are actually as small as possible, to give Notes as much room. But I’m not going to fight WordPress’ html right now or take a picture.)

The Date column can obviously track how frequently I train (right now, M/W/Sa). In the Rank column, I rate myself for the class on a color scale of White Belt to Black Belt and then color the square accordingly. (Diagonals are allowed as well, e.g, I felt purple in drilling and blue in live rolls.) And then the Notes column for a short explanation, esp. for lower rankings.

As far as actual training, I’m in a spiral of “…I just need to work on ALL THE THINGS,” so my list gets bigger every class and I end up getting basically nothing done about anything. And then I realize it’s too much, so I pick a couple of things, but then add one more thing, and then just one more thing, and then before long I’m back to all the things. Maybe this can be the next thing I tackle with the Bullet Journal. 😉

Gotta go fast!

Something has been cropping up in rolling recently: smaller people who get a half-baked submission, then try to quickly crank it in for the tap. When I ask why they’re not setting it up right and just trying to muscle it like that, they say, “Bigger stronger people always get out of it, so I have to do it fast.”

I imagine my face does something like this: blink. blink. blinkblink. …. … blink….

And then my mouth says, “… wut.”

No. Just, no. Bigger stronger people are getting out because you’re doing it wrong. Maybe you don’t realize what you did wrong; everything seemed right to you. But you missed something somewhere. (And as a smaller person, often that missed detail is a very small thing, but it leaves a big hole against a bigger person.) Maybe you didn’t set it up fast enough, so they see it coming and have time to react/defend, but certainly trying to finish it faster isn’t the solution. The setup for a submission can be fast, but the finish should be completely controlled so that you don’t injure your partner before they have a chance to tap.

And sure, maybe, they are just muscling out of it because they don’t want to tap. (I still feel, though, as if that’s more on me for not having the submission quite right so that they felt they had room/time to move.) But you know that they know that you know.

One of the people who said this had also reported an increase in injuries when rolling with bigger stronger guys. Well, you are the one introducing the increased intensity and the disregard for your partner’s limbs; they are reacting to that. Not maliciously, I’m sure; I’ve rolled with some of the people named, and I don’t get the same reaction from them. They will absolutely try to muscle out of submissions given the chance, but when I roll controlled with them, they give that back.

It also seems to me that there’s also the issue of “I have to get the tap” for the smaller person. Sure, submissions are nice; it feels good and validating when you get a tap. (I’ve been going for a lot more myself, and I do like it.) But at the same time, there should definitely be a recognition that potentially hurting your partner, e.g., cranking fast on a sub before they have a chance to tap, is a bad thing and not something we want to do.

2 weeks

About 2 weeks ago I noticed weird bumps on the backs of my hands. Like any good BJJer, I immediately put creams on it and washed it with Hibiclens, and then even stayed away from class. By Monday morning, I was ready to cut my hands off from the itching. Doctor concluded that it was ringworm, just not a kind that makes rings. Blegh. So I stayed home more and put more cream on it, like ya do.

Coincidentally during these same 2 weeks, I had been planning to try intermittent fasting. I’ve moved to a ketogenic diet, which I really like (though now I’m eating some weird things, like sardines and sauerkraut for breakfast and I like it. [In other news, yes, I’m really bizarre ;)]), and so this just seemed like the next step. For this plan and my schedule, days 1/3/5 are fasting days, so I don’t eat from dinner the night before to dinner that day, then have 1 hour to eat; days 2/4/6 are regular keto days; then day 7 is a “feast” day, though still keto. I wasn’t sure how jumping in to fasted training would feel, but the unexpected fungus outbreak meant I didn’t have to do everything at once, so I could just do the fasting.

It’s been interesting. On days when I fast, I’m fine when I wake up (I do have a cup of coffee) and am fine for a few hours; then from about 10 am to 2pm I’m kinda hangry and my stomach is clamoring for food; and from 2pm until I get home, I’m fine again. I get home and my brain wants to stuff everything in my face, but after only just a little bit of food, I’m fine again and then can go to breakfast the next day without any being hungry. (I still eat what I’m supposed to eat, but not as “EAT ALL THE THINGS” as I was earlier in the day.) Though in what feels more odd to me, on days when I eat normally, I’m like, “Meh, food.” Psst, stomach, we’re not fasting today; you can eat. … Eh, not interested.

Next week is back to normal keto eating — and back to normal training — then I’ll start the 4-week cycle again in May, so I won’t get back to this point again for about a month.