Gather ye trainings while ye may

Because I’m still working from home — and because I’m soft & out of shape (& a masochist) — I decided to start going to morning classes this week as well as evening classes on MWF. When I have to head to the office, there’s all the logistics of packing and hauling everything as well, and it’s inconvenient. But now, I can get back home, shower, and be at my computer by 9; grab lunch from the fridge; and grab gear & head out again at night. I figure I can at least get myself in better shape while I have the opportunity.

Mornings are mostly white belt dudes right now. Some warmup, lot of drilling, and then a round or two. I am still conscious of being older and so very out of shape, so not rolling hard or as often as the kids. Rest of the day I am beat. It’s the good kind of beat, though, from doing something worthwhile.

Evenings are more varied with people. Getting some good rounds with the higher belts. I want to roll all night, but I know my hamstrings will hate me in the morning. I’m sleeping like a rock every night.

On the other hand, by this morning I could hardly move. I did go, but it was pathetic. I am taking tonight off because I’m getting my hair done, but I probably need it anyway. Hopefully next week I’ll survive a bit better.

Bonus this week: Travis got his black belt at the start of Wednesday night class. He’s been the instructor on Wed nights since I started going to those, so well deserved.

Therapy

Our academy opened back up this week. Oh, how I’ve missed these mats!

I did absolutely nothing BJJ or exercise related while the academy was closed. I tried the first week to at least walk on the treadmill every day, but that quickly fell off. My job sent us home and I’ve been working from there for months. I did a bunch of gardening and painting and other house stuff. But I didn’t even look at all the BJJ resources being offered or read anything or watch anything. I only saw a few reddit posts with titles like “My gym opened today, and I tore my ACL” and “My gym opened today, and I broke my hand”. Well, then.

My cardio is non-existent (just jogging in a little circle before class was enough to get me winded, lol!). My skin is soft, which means bruises and gi/mat burn and little cuts pile up quickly now. I’m not as flexible. My gi pants are a little tight and my belt’s a little short (my hairdresser calls it “the Covid-15”). Also over the break, I turned 40. And I’ve got those reddit posts in mind.

The young guys are trying to pick right back up where they left off. Tim tries to warn them, but they can only slow down for about 3 seconds before they’re off again.

So far I’ve been to 2 classes. Classes have been 10-15 people. I’m going slow. Rolling when I want to and with who I want to. Sitting out some rounds because I know it’s the smart choice. Trying to remember to give myself a lot of grace. Trying to remember how to even do BJJ at times, though so far it hasn’t been too difficult to remember; my body seems to remember quite a bit.

Even just those 2 classes, though, it feels like the joy I had in the first week of training all those years ago. It makes me so happy to move, so happy to roll around on the floor, even so happy to be bruised and sore.

“If I had a week at home, I would…”

…apparently not write a blog post.

What I have done instead is painted the walls (as high as I can reach with my little ladder, sigh, vaulted ceilings. Also 2,833,293 miles of trim -.-), painted furniture, fermented all the things (carrots, zomg. And ginger beer!), started baking sourdough bread (before I knew it was an internet trend), cut down the bushes I’ve hated since I moved in, and put in a garden (and most isn’t dead yet). My job can be done completely remote, and I find I much prefer it that way, no surprise; I am quite happy not seeing most people. Also somewhere in there, I hit another decade in life; I triple-checked the math, and I suppose it really is right, but I don’t feel 40.

Notice there is no real physical activity. I am a complete slug when allowed to be.

On the other hand, I am starting to itch for something physical to do. I’ve woken up dreaming of jiu-jitsu moves, but can’t practice them. I’ve even started considering running, which I detest. But I need to move and sweat and breathe hard.

…or just crack another ginger beer (so good) and decorate my houses in Skyrim some more.

“Me Smash Hulk!”

Start of a new semester + start of new year = all the white belts

Class last night was just a sea of white belts. I stuck to the few colored belts for rolls and listened to conversations like this around me:

Blue belt: “So have you trained any before?”
New guy: “Me and my brother wrestle in the basement.”

NOPE. NOPITY-NOPE-NOPE. NOPE.

And watching them all try to wrestle (poorly) and run all over the mat just confirmed that I want no part of that mess. Had to poke a pair and make them move because one of them was about to start attacking my partner instead of his own because they were too close to us and just flailing around.

That round I was rolling with Charles, who is not a regular training partner for me as he is at least ~3x my size, with a barrel chest (my knees don’t even reach the ground in mount!) and massive arms and so it just seems mostly useless for both of us. But, again, I was sticking to colored belts and I know he’s safe.

He was grousing a bit about rolling with new guys because they sit down across from him and their eyes bug out a bit and he can see the thought running through their head: “This guy is HUGE! He’s gonna rip my head clean off! I have to go really, really extra hard!” And so they do. That part is mostly fine because he can control them, but then they invariably go even harder with more flailing and manage to bash him in the face with a knee or elbow… And then his thought is, “Well, I wasn’t going to just crush you, but now I am.”

I talked to him after class, too, and he was still grouchy because, yet again, a white belt had smashed him in the face. Some of the other colored belts also seemed also a bit cranky over the white belt antics.

I’m sure most of these kids will settle down soon enough. Those first couple week, though…

Tamagotchi, Women, and Going Slow

I have so many drafts still sitting in my head…

Last night during class, we suddenly heard a voice from the back room (office/changing area) say a couple words. Everyone looked around, but no one moved. It happened again, and it was a text-to-speech kind of voice. Still no one moved. It was almost certainly someone’s phone or device or something, but no one did anything.

After a few more repeats, one of the purple belts said, “Okay, whose Tamagotchi is that?”

Most of the college-age white belts: “…a what?”

Sigh. Kids these days…

During the next break in training, a couple white belts did pop into the back room, and after that the voice stopped. So I guess they finally fed their pet, heh.

women on the mat

(I’m second from the right. No idea why I seem to be in the back row!)

The last couple of weeks, we’ve had a lot of women showing up on Mondays. And quite a few new ladies trying class out (as well as a lot of new guys) at the start of the semester.

Also in the last couple weeks, Tyler got his black belt! We now have 7 black belts around. I remember when I started here and the highest belt besides Tim was 1 purple.

This last Saturday, I rolled with Blake, one of those black belts. (I am attempting to steal his entire game and Brant’s entire game and meld them in to a game built around just melting out of everything.) Ella, one of the white belt ladies (not pictured above), was sitting out that round and watching various rolls. Afterward she commented that she had most enjoyed watching me and Blake because we were rolling slow enough that she had time to see what we were doing and to think to herself about what we might do next. She could also see better why we did certain little things that she knows are part of a technique but that she doesn’t usually notice are so important. Last night I rolled with her and I could see her trying at times to slow down like she’d seen us do on Saturday. Yay for learning!