Today was cool: Kate drove up from Bristol, TN — about an hour away at Texas speeds 😉 — to train with me/us. She emailed me a few days ago and asked for some advice because she’s the only — and first — girl at her school to do jiu-jitsu, and the guys don’t know what to do with her, to the point of not drilling or rolling with her. When I found out how close she was, I offered that she was welcome to come up and train with me/us any time she wanted, and she jumped right on that.
(Also, this is the first time someone’s come in from out of town specifically to train with me, and that’s just mind-blowing. Very cool, but mind-blowing.)
Solid bunch in this morning, too — Tim, Will, and Scott, and a couple others. Small, though, because Virginia Tech’s on break (maybe Radford, too). So I asked Will to help teach her the basic guard break and pass. That’s always the first thing I think of when people say they don’t know anything because it was the first thing Tim & Justin taught me when I started. Then drilled that together for a while, with Tim coming over to teach, too. Then I rolled with Will, and Scott worked with Kate. I don’t know what they went over, though I did see a kimura from guard at the end. (I have the best guys. 😀 And they all said that she’s welcome to come up anytime she wants to, and over lunch, Will & Scott were even starting to plan a dojo storm to help her out. :P)
I had moments of consciously remembering what Scott had said about being on top and not conceding bottom. Many more moments of not consciously remembering, but still fighting out, and not realizing what I’d done until I was in a better position. I know I was more aware of where I was in bottom half guard. He did let me in to top half a few times and let me pass, so I mostly worked on knee-on-belly to mount and on maintaining those positions. Noticed that whenever I tried to isolate an arm and moved my weight just enough, he’d upa me right over. Hm, think maybe I need to be ready to base out with that side hand faster? He still found lots of waving feet. My right shoulder and elbow — supposedly the non-injured side — both popped loudly when he went for an omoplata on that side and freaked him out badly. No pain at all, and I wouldn’t have even stopped if he hadn’t. That was early on, though, so we did keep rolling.
Later at lunch, Will said that I’d been very aggressive and that that had been a very good roll and would I please roll like that always from now on. Um, okay, but I don’t know what I did! I didn’t recall being very aggressive or even trying to insist on getting my way much (except once when I really wanted a knee-through guard pass and he wanted to stop me. I think he still probably won that exchange. But I was adjusting and getting my head in his chin and really trying to get my hips behind it.). I also felt a lot less tense than I’ve felt over the last few days.
Kate and I talked some during the class and later after lunch about jiu-jitsu and being a girl in jiu-jitsu. If I were in her situation, where no one wanted to work with me or they all ignored me and hoped I’d just go away — I’d like to say that I’d have the courage to stick it out and be that trail-blazing woman who beats her head against the brick wall until she works some sense in to the boys, but I can’t be sure that I would. My guys had already been well trained by the time I started, and all I had to do was show I was one of the serious girls and they’ve treated me as such. Yes, it’s tough to be the only girl sometimes, but I wasn’t the first girl. (Tim’s told me that they once had a blue belt girl who was there for a year while going to Tech and who had won at Pan Ams or something, and that she used to terrorize all the boys. So he and some of the others were already aware that girls can do jiu-jitsu, and they’ve made sure that every guy who comes in has understood that, too.)
Anyone else have any advice or encouragement for Kate?