BJJ Grrl

"Be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically." ~Sensei Keiko Fukuda

Aha! moment

on September 24, 2008

The judo class has moved to Monday night so all those guys can come to BJJ gi class. So we had a full mat last night.

Warmup was a little crazier than usual. We did the partner drag again, for grip strength. I had to wait in line to drag Justin. Then a few rounds of rolling.

Drilled a variation on the baseball bat choke; this time you get the first hand in, but then spin around their head and switch sides before sinking the choke all the way in. Then drilled a front choke from mount and what to do if they bridge over (bridging actually makes it tighter, as long as you keep your elbows in).

Then more rolling. Got in with Adam once. He kept catching me in triangles, but he said he’d work with me on a defense or counter for those; I’m just not noticing them until they’re on and getting tight. I know one counter, but I can’t seem to make it work; at least, not against him, but that could be the problem there.

Tim called me over after one roll to point out where I was messing up on the armbar from guard: not pinching my feet down. So I was getting stacked and passed easily. Aha! I couldn’t see where the problem was for anything. I’ve been getting in position pretty good but not finishing. Pinch the feet down, got it. I forgot what I was reading yesterday (maybe the “Progression in BJJ” article), but someone said that once he got to black belt he realized that a basic move (and I think it was armbar from guard. Edit: It was the progression article but with the triangle from guard, everyone’s favorite move to use on me right now. Doh. I still only have about 3 details down, though…) had about 20 different detailed moves inside it that had to be right for the move to be right! So I’ve got, er, about 3 of them down for that move…

Then off to TKD. Home, shower, washing gi put me in bed by 1 a.m. Then my grandfather, who’s visiting, took a left instead of a right out of the bathroom at 3 a.m. and fell down the stairs. He’s okay, a few cuts and bruises, but it woke everyone up. Then a doctor’s appt early this morning to make sure that the funny looking places on my leg are not MRSA; they’re not, just bad razor burn, like I’d thought. So not nearly enough sleep…


So hungry yesterday. Finally put my food in to SparkPeople and realized I had a grand total of 1200 calories. Pleh. No wonder. (Should be 1600-1800.) Need to plan better, but don’t seem to have the time…

My shiner is still getting funny looks and comments at work. 🙂 However, no one had commented on it at jiu-jitsu. (Perry did notice it on Saturday and asked about its origin.) They either haven’t noticed or are wondering if they might’ve done it and don’t want to find out. Tehe. Adam did notice last night when I rolled with him and asked about it.


I’ve been reading Valerie Worthington’s blog and the NHB forums. (Work is still boring.) Everything I’ve said about being frustrated, for whatever reason, is echoed there. And the consistent advice is: “Patience, grasshopper.” Also reading articles such as “Progression in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu”, which discusses how you’ll feel/what you should expect to be able to do at each belt level.

The most frustrating part about being a white belt (especially if you have no experience on the ground) is the fact that most of the advanced students will make you tap, or at least positionally dominate you. (I remember feeling frustrated as a white belt.) This frustration usually leads to white belts asking questions like, “How do I get on top of these guys? How do I escape the side or full mount? How do I tap out the blue and purple belts?” Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do right now to immediately change the tables in your favor. Get used to the blue and purple belts tapping you out. Get used to having them positionally dominating you. Consider tapping as a “form of learning”, a way of “paying your dues.”

I already know that I won’t tap the blues & purples for a long while, if ever (because they’ll be browns & blacks eventually); it’s largely the other white belts and myself that frustrate me. But still, frustration is normal. I have to keep reminding myself of that, and then trying to figure out what unreal expectations I have that are getting squashed.

I realized when reading what he said about white belts that my blues and purples are great guys to train with. They mostly do the “positionally dominance” thing, and then they let me work. They aren’t just trying to submit me as many times as they can. If I give up something really easy and obvious, usually they’ll take it and then remind me not to do it again. Or if I sit and think too long, they’ll take something. But they don’t just steamroll me just because they can.

And I found it encouraging to read some of the things he said about blue & up and to know that I’m already working on them now. Not that it seems to make a difference in my game now, but it will. And there are other things he said about blue & up that I want to start working on. Reminds me of how, at TKD, we insist that the white and gold belts keep their hands up while practicing sparring movements even though white belts don’t spar and gold belts can’t be hit in the head yet. But if you get to green belt and have the habit of lowering your hands, you’re gonna get popped in the head a lot until you create that habit all over again.

Sometimes I just need to be reminded that I’m on the same path that everyone else has taken, that I’m not having some weird experience on my own, and that I’ll get there eventually, too.

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One response to “Aha! moment

  1. […] problem from Saturday with Nick) — not pinching my feet/calves down on the armbar! Same thing Tim had pointed out over a month ago. So by not pinching my feet down on the armbar, I was sliding out of position and […]

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