BJJ Grrl

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

2 weeks

About 2 weeks ago I noticed weird bumps on the backs of my hands. Like any good BJJer, I immediately put creams on it and washed it with Hibiclens, and then even stayed away from class. By Monday morning, I was ready to cut my hands off from the itching. Doctor concluded that it was ringworm, just not a kind that makes rings. Blegh. So I stayed home more and put more cream on it, like ya do.

Coincidentally during these same 2 weeks, I had been planning to try intermittent fasting. I’ve moved to a ketogenic diet, which I really like (though now I’m eating some weird things, like sardines and sauerkraut for breakfast and I like it. [In other news, yes, I’m really bizarre ;)]), and so this just seemed like the next step. For this plan and my schedule, days 1/3/5 are fasting days, so I don’t eat from dinner the night before to dinner that day, then have 1 hour to eat; days 2/4/6 are regular keto days; then day 7 is a “feast” day, though still keto. I wasn’t sure how jumping in to fasted training would feel, but the unexpected fungus outbreak meant I didn’t have to do everything at once, so I could just do the fasting.

It’s been interesting. On days when I fast, I’m fine when I wake up (I do have a cup of coffee) and am fine for a few hours; then from about 10 am to 2pm I’m kinda hangry and my stomach is clamoring for food; and from 2pm until I get home, I’m fine again. I get home and my brain wants to stuff everything in my face, but after only just a little bit of food, I’m fine again and then can go to breakfast the next day without any being hungry. (I still eat what I’m supposed to eat, but not as “EAT ALL THE THINGS” as I was earlier in the day.) Though in what feels more odd to me, on days when I eat normally, I’m like, “Meh, food.” Psst, stomach, we’re not fasting today; you can eat. … Eh, not interested.

Next week is back to normal keto eating — and back to normal training — then I’ll start the 4-week cycle again in May, so I won’t get back to this point again for about a month.

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I feel like I should write something profound after training for 10 years. But on the other hand, it’s a day like any other; I get up, I do stuff, I train if it’s a training day. (This is also the main reason why my blog has been sparse the last, oh, year or so: I just do my thing, nothing outstanding to report.) I suppose, at the least, I am a bit smarter now: I’ll take rest days when I need them, I’ll turn down rolls that I don’t want, I’ll stop when I need to stop.

(And then someone posted this post on reddit, so you can go there for your dose of “profound.”)

I do feel that I’ve made good progress to stop “being nice” all the time, especially to the women, which to my brain had translated to “no pressure and no submissions.” I am now fine with using weight/pressure and throwing submissions every which way. I also added “submissions other than armbars”, and that has also made progress, though people do still like to give me their arms. Next up: I need to work on keeping a position once I get it, instead of always letting them toss me off (even though I come right back in another way), and also (still!) on not hesitating.

In general, I don’t feel like I’m “doing moves” these days. Instead I’m doing concepts: “control the elbows, turn the face, trap an arm.” Even on submissions, my thought process is “Hrm, which way is that supposed to bend? Okay, take it the other way.” And on escapes: a bunch of the guys have decided not to ignore 50% of the human body anymore and are constantly playing with my feet now. I haven’t really “learned” any of these things, but I try to look for the basic things: block here, frame there. It seems good.

Also this Chewjitsu video popped up today, which is super relevant immediately as I have felt this 10-year Anniversary looming and have felt the need to “have something to show for it”, while the video talks about training on your own path, even if that’s not as often as other people. It’s still hard on the ego to watch people get better faster, but I just need to remind myself that I’m not in competition every day.

In other news, while the doctors have not figured out exactly what’s wrong with my face, they have put me on a cream that seems to be doing well. Now I just look a little/splotchy, aka like I like just finished training, even when I haven’t.


We have become fist-bumpers

And I’m not sure how to feel about that…

My schedule has changed a bit, and I can now train on Wednesday night, which is a gi class after MMA class. I stay at work an hour later (as going home and sitting on the couch would be bad), then go. So far working well. The only downside is that sometimes the guys who did the previous class first are a leeeeetle bit hyped up, so “warm-up rounds” are sometimes Abu Dhabi finals.

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Of burpees and butterflies

I woke up this morning and drank my coffee. Then, before the caffeine could reach my brain, I got the brilliant idea to work out. But because I knew I needed to be at work early this morning, for some reason my brain decided that Tabata burpees were the way to go. And then once I started, for some reason my brain decided it wanted to do all 8 rounds instead of stopping at 4.

At class tonight, I was loosening up like I always do. I tried to touch my toes, and got hung up less than halfway down. My hamstrings said, “NOPE.”

Short warmup, then King of the Hill. Butterfly guard sweep/submit vs. pass. Legs were so heavy on both sides of it, though I did press through all the rounds.

Elevator sweep for drills, then rounds. The “returner’s luck” was with me at times, though I overall felt so slow, as I’ve been off the mats again for a whole week. (And will be off for another because I’m going out of town this weekend to see my goddaughters. Their mom is signing the oldest, who’s 5, up for a local Bullyproof program soon!)

A variation on the elevator for the second class, and then one round before declaring myself too tired to continue and finally going home.

As for my face, the doctors still don’t know what it is (though their guesses are now starting to escalate like a self-diagnosis through WebMD. Not pleased.). It is continuing to fade, though, so may work itself out before they figuring it out.

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Face off

Back in January, my face started turning red in some some places. At first it just seemed to be irritated from, oh, I dunno, people smashing their shoulders into it. But the red didn’t go away. And then big splotchy brownish patches started growing, taking over my checks and forehead. Then the red spread patches on my knuckles and on the back of my neck. If you saw me at the Girls in Gis open mat, you may have thought I just had a weird sunburn/suntan. (But it started in January, and there was no sun, and I don’t do indoor tanning.)

I initially tried several things on my own — going super-strict Paleo, doing auto-immune Paleo (no coffee!!), taking Vitamin D and digestive enzymes and Betaine HCl and fish oil and primrose oil, and eating liver and fish and fermented foods. None seemed to make a difference, though I am still doing many of them because they’re a good idea anyway.

I finally went to my GP, who tried a few otc treatments and did some blood work; there’s nothing in my blood, and the treatments caused no change. Then I went to a dermatologist, who was positive it was one thing (and the internet seemed to agree), but the normal treatment — antibiotics, ick — didn’t have the effect they should have. So now she’s exploring other options, which has meant biopsies from my hand and neck (ouch. Also stitches.), more blood work (did I mention I hate needles?), and more drugs (a short bout of Prednisone right now. Not so happy with that, either.). She has also consulted all the other doctors at the office, and none of them know what it is.

I have also had to explain multiple times: “Oh, that’s an old ringworm scar.” “No, that’s from an old scratch I got at class.” “The callouses on my finger joints are from BJJ.”

All of this, though, has meant time off the mats. (The rash itself is not a problem with training. It only rarely itches, and doesn’t seem to mind getting smashed. My face just looks weird.)
I go back again in two weeks, though in the last few days the brown part of the rash, at least, has started to die down, and my skin is peeking out. So perhaps something is finally working.

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