BJJ Grrl

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


on March 16, 2009

Some of the students were back tonight, so a much larger class than we had all last week. Warmup, and again I was keeping up in the drills down the mat… and then suddenly was a whole trip behind. I’m still confused. Then partnered up for armbars from the guard, 10 per side, but some of the newer guys weren’t doing them right (chance they haven’t really seen them yet), so we kept going while Tim walked them through them. Hamstrings, glutes, and hips = on fire. Then bump sweep for a while. One more down-the-mat drill with your partner, shrimping between their legs. A few trips of that.

Rest of class was rolling, round-robin style. We were split into several groups of 3; my group had 4. One in the middle until he’d rolled with everyone in his group, then the last one to come out stayed out for everyone; wash, rinse, repeat. I was in with 3 newer guys, one of whom smells like smoke and another whose gi also smelled funky. Maybe it was just my group, or maybe it would have been the same no matter what, but I got steamrolled. They were going Abu Dhabi at each other, with a constant increase of intensity throughout the class.

Got slammed, punched, kneed, ripped, jerked, crushed, everything. Couldn’t breathe, either, under the two who smelled. At one point, when I had a few moments of space and was switching my hips and playing with grips with one of them, Tim was watching my roll, and he was making little comments like “Good, Leslie” — which, I suppose, to my partner, means that my partner is not doing good, and so of course the intensity gets jacked up. Made the mistake once of going for a lapel choke that another one had left open; his intensity, which was already high, kicked in to overdrive. No more offense from me; the rest was all defense.

Having two rounds to sit out between was good, though, as I could just get myself back in hand before the next round. Should have probably stepped out sooner, but I thought I could make it. Held up for most of the class, but on one of the last rolls, I lost it. Almost immediately wanted the round to be over, but we’d just started. Tried to just turtle and wait it out, but he’d grab a foot and a sleeve and throw me over or take my back. He tossed me over once, and I didn’t move from where he’d thrown me; just stayed curled up and tried to hang on to the last thread of control I had. He stopped then, though, because he said he could see that I was shaking, probably from the effort of not completely breaking down. I tried to say that I was fine, but I was still shaking, and he suggested that I take a break. So I walked back to the women’s bathroom and locked myself in and tried to calm down.

He apologized several times. But it wasn’t just him; that was just the last straw; but I couldn’t say anything without breaking down again. (Gah. Once the dam breaks, it takes so blasted long to patch. I’m still having flare-ups three hours later. Stop it, I’m not like this! Grrr!!) And I do know that no one is purposely trying to beat me up and that they just don’t realize that they’re going so hard with me. But no matter how many times Tim says, “Work your jiu-jitsu, guys. Let’s see some technique” — or even if he specifically tells someone who’s rolling with me to work his technique when he rolls with me and not to muscle me around — it still happens every time.

Or am I just that much of a wimp? Am I expecting rainbows and kittens every time I roll? Maybe they are rolling with technique, and I just can’t tell, and maybe the advanced belts are taking it too easy on me. I don’t want things just handed to me; I don’t want the guys to “take it easy on the poor little girl.” Have I somehow gotten a skewed idea of what “rolling with technique” means? I know it doesn’t mean slow or without intensity or power or pressure or sometimes even pain — I’ve rolled with the blue and purple belts and Tim enough. It’s just that I feel as if I’m missing something that would let me understand and maybe even roll with these other guys. Right now I don’t even feel as if I’m even rolling with them; I’m just a live heavy bag for a round.


4 responses to “whimper…

  1. Alex says:

    Check out this You Tube video on Selective Tension vs Strenth. It might help.

    Flow with the Go

  2. Matt says:

    It may be a cliche, but just hang in there. Keep training, and eventually it will click.

    For me, for a long time I actually fared much better against blue belts than against white belts. It took me about 5 years to be able to handle the “insane beginners” with any degree of regularity.

    Another point is that these guys are jerks. It’s not a male/female thing, it’s a weightclass thing. I weigh 165 and I wouldn’t smash a 115-lb guy OR girl. I’ve rolled with children and I wouldn’t smash them either. Sounds like these guys would.

    Anyway, the most fundamental part of BJJ is defense, so my advice when you roll with spazzes like this is to work mostly defensive positioning and escapes. Personally I like to bait the mount then escape when they go for it. It’s easy to do against morons like this. It sounds like you’re on the right track already.

    Everybody gets frustrated. Most people handle it by quitting. Your perseverance is an inspiration to us all.

  3. Georgette says:

    I feel you! I just finished an hour of nogi. One of the rolls was with a sweet guy who isn’t a monster– but how f-ing frustrating it was to have a REALLY available Americana setup, only I do not have the upper body strength to resist him straightening his arm so I can’t latch on the figure 4…. and when I switch to a straight armbar, to not have the strength to resist him bending it again, just enough to not have to tap. At least I knew without a doubt that against a girl of my size I was in the right position.

    I have finished rolls with guys and been near tears, or had to literally bite my lip to avoid saying something snotty, or had to really work at not punching them in the arm when they’re all cocky about how they beat me. I want to yell “if I was your size and your strength I would have crushed you.” (But would it be true?)

    I feel you.

  4. leslie says:

    Thank you all. Sometimes I think about not posting when I have absolutely horrible nights, but on the one hand, it’s reassuring that I’m not the only one having problems and that other people understand and are encouraging, and on the other hand, maybe someday someone who’s going through this all for the first time will read this and be encouraged.

    @Alex: Hehe, was that for me or for the guys? 😛 Cuz they could surely use it, too. But I have noticed that in response to their actions, I’ve started becoming tense and tight, so that’s on the list of things to work on.

    @Matt: Thanks. For all of that, thanks.

    @Georgette: That sounds like nearly every one of my rolls, even the end. Oh, the things I’ve wanted to say. I’ve had guys tell me that if they’d been a girl, or if I’d been their size, that I’d’ve had whatever I had. Thanks once again.

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