BJJ Grrl

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

Down in flames

on July 30, 2011

Friday night

Fundamentals Class, nogi

Started with drilling, same as last night — butterfly sweep to guillotine. Drilled first with Bobby and then with Sara. Then one round of rolling with drilling partner.

Open Mat

I was seriously considering skipping out because I was tired (gracious, I was tired — 2ish hours of rolling on Sunday, plus every class here so far this week), but Tim paired me up with Jess and then with Sara again. The latter round was long. Loooooong. Tired. So tired. So weak. Tim was calling in from the side to push us.

I couldn’t do it. I broke down. Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, couldn’t react, couldn’t anything. After he finally released us, I grabbed my stuff and staggered out to my car. Had to sit there for a while with the A/C on max and the fan on high as I hyperventilated. Never done that before. Sucks.

I know some people think I was upset about the roll itself or extrapolate that I just want “easy” rolls or something stupid like that. No. I was beyond exhausted. I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to stop and wasn’t allowed. I was past any point of any self-control. You give me that same roll on a day when I’m not exhausted, and things are very different.

Anyway, whatever. I don’t know that I can change what stories people tell themselves. I know other people have different experiences and they think they know what’s going on in my head. Sometimes they might even right.

No class for me this morning.

So, changes

I did a lot of crying and thinking in a cold shower last night. I would love to train every time the building is open. I miss the mats when I’m not on them. I like training, I like working hard, I like sweating and turning in to a water-logged lump by the end of an intense class. In some ways, I feel like continuing to come to class and to work hard even when I’m tired is a good thing — I can’t muscle anything at all.


My body and my brain are so tired. I’m not recovering between classes. Morning classes are often fairly laid back, but evening classes are often intense. There are approximately 13 hours of class time per week, mostly spaced 12 hours or less from each other. I’m fine for the first few classes of any given week, but by Wednesday or Thursday night, I’m winding down. Most nights, my head hits the pillow and I’m out cold.

So. Thinking last night, my options seem to be either to quit outright — which was actually the leading candidate for quite a while — or to not be so tired. Since sleeping more and eating more don’t seem to be affecting the latter, I think the only thing left is to train less. And that sucks to say, but, since the intensity of the training throughout the week doesn’t lessen with the lessening of my own energy, then lessening the amount of training seems to be the only solution. And then there are the injuries that keep piling up and not healing.

Effective Monday, I’m dropping to 3 nights a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, for the Fundamentals and regular classes (Open Mat on Fridays). No morning classes. No Saturdays, even, for a while, unless the affiliate guys are in. A break without a complete break. Maybe this will work. I hope so.


9 responses to “Down in flames

  1. Laura says:

    Sounds like a plan!

    In the last three weeks I’ve trained what I would normally do in a single week. And, it hasn’t killed me. Made me realize a few things too. It allowed me to clear my head and think.

    Feel better soon. 🙂

  2. Kintanon says:

    It takes time for your body to adapt to high training loads. Backing it off for a couple of weeks and then ramping it back up for a couple is probably all you need to do. Cycle your training to give you periods of greater rest. Light week, light week, heavy week, heavy week, rest week, repeat.
    You don’t have to train every class every week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t train every class some weeks.

  3. clinzy says:

    Kintanon is wise. Rest is good. You do not suck, and you don’t want to quit. I think even you know that.

    Think about your life in recent weeks. You have a full time job. You’re training like it’s your job. You bought a house. You don’t have to be a super hero every day, you know. Even super heroes get petulant and cry out, “Why did that spider have to bite ME?” every now and then. Then, they go off the rails for a day or two, and the handy butler points them back on the right track. (MikeByrd would be horrified that I mixed my super hero metaphors there, but I think you get it.) A little rest won’t kill you. And, speaking from the chair of someone who has taken a multi-MONTH break from BJJ, that wouldn’t kill you, either, if you find you need that one day.

  4. Jaime says:

    That’s the best plan, Leslie. I’ve always thought you over-trained and that it was going to come back to bite you. You’re going to find that not only are you going to be less tired, but you’re going to be sharper too so you’ll learn the techniques easier. Then, you’ll be to execute them better. 90% of BJJ is mental and you need to be as sharp as possible if you’re going to improve. I’m sure you’ll see that in the near future.

    • orcablue says:

      Bullcrap. She can do two-a-days after a time of adjustment and sussing out the right diet and sleep schedule. It’s done all the time, without steroids or other pharmaceutical aids.

      Timing of meals is as important as quantity. Maybe a couple scoops of peanut butter an hour or so before BJJ would help?

      Talk to Mannon, BJJGrrl – he might have some useful tips or advice regarding this.

  5. Aparna says:

    Every single body needs recovery. Maybe different amounts, but it’s necessary. Even hardcore CrossFitters take off at least two days a week (or at least, that’s what is prescribed). It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so take your time and figure out a schedule that allows for recovery.

    And while I don’t exactly agree with orcablue’s sentiment of “bullcrap,” he does have a point–your coach might have some helpful ideas. Or any of the tons of other people who do two-a-days no problem, “all the time.”

  6. slideyfoot says:

    I wanted to stop and wasn’t allowed.

    That stood out as concerning. While it is good to train hard sometimes, if you really need to stop, you should be allowed to just tap and stop. You’re a paying adult, after all, not a kid in a PE class. 🙂

    In my case, when I get really tired, I’ll go super-defensive, tucking everything in tight, using that to take a breather until they give me an opening, the round ends or they tap me.

  7. Georgette says:

    I’m somewhere in the middle of the spectrum here. I think you know yourself better than anyone else does. If you need more rest and recovery time, you’ll take it, and it will be good for you. Like several others have said, you may not ALWAYS need more, and there’s nothing wrong with needing more OR with NOT needing more. Bottom line, you’ve had so much on your plate lately. Take a break! 🙂

    And yeah– “not allowed to stop” is BULLLLSHEEEEET. I love being pushed and pushed hard, but the line between that and TOO FAR is not one that can be externally determined. You are the boss of you! 🙂

  8. Tom D says:


    When was the last time you had a laugh on the mats? If you can’t remember, then it’s been too long. Focus this week on ejoying your training!

    Let’s be honest here. There is no way you’re giving up BJJ 😉 Don’t be so hard on yourself and try to enjoy it a bit more. It can be tough on the mats sometimes, but if you enjoy it then it’s worth it.

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