BJJ Grrl

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

Nick’s Last Night

on July 2, 2009

Tonight was Nick’s last night, at least for a while.

I was early, as usual, and Perry wanted to roll some. He pins my wrists and ankles a lot (all that Krav Maga stuff), and I can’t move well. He made a comment while we were rolling about me getting strong; I said that I felt so weak; he said nope, definitely strong. Huh.

An actual warmup today. (We did have a new guy. And several of the kids.) A little light, compared to normal, though it was still too much for him. Then to technique. Well, actually, Justin said, “Find you a partner,” which is usually the signal that we’re rolling. Nick and I went for each other. Then Justin said, “Double-under pass drilling.” Doh. The new guy worked in with us. He’s tall. High-school football player.

Then Justin showed an armbar from the back. Drilled with Nick again. Then rolling with your drilling partner. We kept having to move because everyone was spazzing all around the mat. He caught an armbar, but mostly we were just moving around. But the rounds weren’t nearly long enough.

Then we switched — Justin grabbed Nick for one last roll — and I rolled with Guillaume. Fell on a triangle. And forced a little to get an omoplata later. (He had seen Justin submitting someone with one last week and had asked what it was. I had tried to pull it off that round to show him, but he wouldn’t go near the position. When we sat up tonight, I told him that was what he’d asked about.) This round was longer because Justin and Nick rolled over the timer and stopped it.

After class, some of us went over to one of the guys’ place for a farewell cookout for Nick.

From last night:

Justin, Nick, & Adam

They read my mind again…

I just realized, I’d said last week that I wanted to just drill lots of basic stuff. And now we’re working a “Move of the Week.” Awesomeness.

At the cookout tonight, one of the guys told me a story from his first night. He’d rolled with Scott (then blue, now purple), and Scott had completely dominated him. After the round, this guy made an off-hand comment to Scott along the lines of “Wow, I felt like a little girl out there.” He said Scott got real serious and in his face and said, “You see Leslie over there? She’s in here every day, working just as hard as the guys. Don’t give me any of this ‘girl’ crap.”

Aww, I heart my boys 🙂

I am stuck in long boring meetings today — thank goodness for laptops! — so I’m filling the time with lots of post writing. (Goes right along with the procrastinating bit. Long posts generally mean I’m avoiding something else!)


This probably won’t make much sense. I’m still trying to figure it out myself…

I overheard a couple of the white belt guys talking last night. They’re all confident that the blue belt is coming any day now for them. They’ve been training for a few months. One of those guys was talking to me tonight at the cookout, and said that me, him, and the other guy were probably the next in line for blue belts. I said I think I still have a long time.

People are starting to talk about me turning here soon, usually right after they ask how many days a week I train and how many months I’ve been training. (During Karate College, even Renzo mentioned having a talk with Tim about that. [Six days a week, 15 months. What are you now, purple? Blue? White?! What’s wrong with Tim?”] !!! But even if Renzo himself were ready to hand me a blue belt, I don’t want it until Tim says I’m ready.) It’s not that I want — or don’t want — my blue belt. It’s just that I don’t feel ready. Of course, if it’s up to me, I’ll never be ready; there will always be something else to work on or to fix or to improve in. I would happily be a hard-working white belt for years more.

And yet at the same time, I have this nagging impatient voice in my head. Why don’t you have it yet? How long have you been doing this? Look at all these other people getting promoted. Look at all these girls getting promoted. What’s wrong with you? Certainly doesn’t help on the feeling better about myself front. Give me a few more months, and I’ll have had my white belt longer than Justin, Adam, and Nick were white belts combined. Most of my brain wants to tell me that means I’m horrible at this and should find a different hobby. And yet there’s that deep-down, stubborn part of me that hangs on. My teeth are sunk in, and they aren’t letting go.

I’m not fishing for sympathy or encouragement or anything. I’m just trying to get out what’s in my head, hoping that someday someone who’s going through the same thing will read it and say, “Oh, look, I’m not the only one.”

Ups and Downs

So, my own blog taught me a lesson today about ups and downs in training. I’m currently sitting in a meeting about some documents (see below for funny meeting story — also very glad we didn’t have to drive to their location just for this ridiculous meeting), and it’s above my head, so I’m bored. So I’m trying to find small things to do to distract myself. Started looking over my blog stats. Here it is, with day-to-day, then week-to-week, and then month-to-month:

blog stats

blog stats

Day to day, there are ups and downs. Some days, it looks like no one is reading at all. Discouraging. Even backing out to the weekly view, some are up and some are down. Still doesn’t look like anything is happening. It isn’t until you get all the way out to the monthly view that you can see there is progress — the line goes up and up and up. (Until the month starts over, and then it plummets and tries to ruin my object lesson :P)

My view is too close. I only see the daily frustration, the missed passes, the gasping for air, the knees to the ribs. Even reading back over my blog and looking for signs of progress, everything is fuzzy and easily dismissed as going nowhere. Yet there is hope that the unseen upward and increasing progress is occurring.


7 responses to “Nick’s Last Night

  1. slideyfoot says:

    Yeah, nobody ever feels ready for their belt: I still don’t feel significantly better than white belt level, and my first reaction when I was called up to receive my blue in Feb 2008 was “shit, already?”

    I’m sure you don’t need to hear this, but: belts are nice, but what’s important is that you feel you’re improving. Without that sense of getting better, the belt means nothing. Competing definitely helps: if I performed well in a comp, I’d instantly feel more comfortable with the blue (of course, that would mean I’d have to actually compete, let alone do well…).

    Also something you probably don’t need reassurance on, but I for one read all your posts. However, I only actually visit the blog itself (rather than Google Reader) when I want to comment, or to read the great women section you’ve got up on here.

  2. leslie says:

    @slidey: Thanks, as always. 😛

    Blog stats: I also read nearly everything in Google Reader, so I’m also not actively contributing to people’s stats. And I suppose even that has an analog to training — we don’t always know who’s watching and what they’re seeing while we’re mired in the minutia.

    Belts and improvement: Right now, it’s the knowing I’m improving that I really want. A belt would indicate that I’ve improved since I started (we don’t do stripes), but I’d rather have a more daily measurement of progress. And most days it feels as if I’m fighting just to stay in one place, let alone get ahead.

  3. Jenn S. says:

    As a fellow perfectionist who doesn’t have any objectivity in self-analysis, I will definitely cheer IRL when you get your blue. I will even click through my feed reader for you. 🙂

    I’m wondering, though–what impact do you anticipate your blue belt will have on others, specifically newer students? Will they regard you with awe and ask for training tips, or will they view you as a challenge (i.e., “I won’t let a girl beat me” times four)?

  4. leslie says:

    @Jenn: *snort* Yeah, that does sum me up, too.

    I’m anticipating and bracing for the latter. I think having a new color around my waist is going to equal a bulls eye on my back for most of the guys, i.e., “If I can beat a blue, I can get my blue — and I bet I can beat the girl.” (Even though Tim probably wouldn’t care if you could legitimately tap *him* out on your first day; that doesn’t equal promotion.)

    (Although, most of the new guys come to nogi nights, so they may continue to reside in a “times one” state.)

    I also think Tim is anticipating the latter, based on some things he has said, and that that may be part of his decision about when I get my blue, to make sure I’m ready for that.

    I do trust him, and I do know that he’ll promote me when he feels I’m ready. I just want to make him proud and not regret that decision. Maybe that’s what I’m worrying about more…

  5. Jenn S. says:

    I don’t know Tim, but, since he is not you, he’s free to be objectively proud of you at any point. And judging from your consistency in showing up to class and your work ethic/attitude, he has plenty of cause to have already arrived at that state. 😛

    It sucks that being female means you are often held to a different standard (by prejudiced guys, obviously not by Tim, Justin, etc.). But I bet someday you’re going to be one of the super good students who are sent out to educate ignorant newbies in the truth that yes, technique does win over muscle.

  6. leslie says:

    @Jenn: Thanks again. And yeah, they’ve already told me that that is their plan for me.

  7. […] and pulled it away; I tried the one-armed RNC, but couldn’t finish, then tried switching to the armbar, but didn’t switch my feet out first and so couldn’t get my leg around and over. He […]

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