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…
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.
(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!
Brant was awarded his black belt last night, cheer! (Also: freaking. finally.) Rolling with Brant is like rolling with melting butter: he waits for you to move, slides around, moves just a hair, and you are in a very bad place.
Blake (who moved here as a black belt) got his first stripe on his black belt. Hilariously, last night was also the night he had forgotten his own belt, so he instead got a stripe on a spare black belt.
Two guys, Finn and TR, also got their purples in a double-belt-smacking after a round (not rolling with each other, though I think Tim had kinda tried to make that happen while trying not to be too obvious. It did not work itself out, oh well.).
I took the whole of Thanksgiving week off, from Saturday to Saturday, to let injuries and bumps and bruises heal at least a little bit. Last night I felt every bite of those four pies and all the rest.
Oh, wait, that’s not a great one to celebrate — 1-year anniversary of not posting! Oops. 😮
On the other hand, the update is pretty easy: I’m pretty much exactly where I was a year ago, still training, usually 3 times a week. Still feels like a 1 step forward, 3 steps back kind of thing; most days I’d gladly be demoted to white belt again, as I don’t feel I’ve progressed much past that. Then there are odd days where the stars align, the clouds part, and everything just seems to work flawlessly, and I leave confused as to who was hijacking my body that class.
I have at least been using the BJJ Bujo pages almost every training session, though. Here’s 2019 in Bujo form:
The “rank” column is my assessment of the training that day. Recently I added the red for “out with injury” and yellow for “…I deserve a kids’ belt…”. (An “X” means I didn’t train on a scheduled day.)
That big splotch of red in the second one was a broken pinky toe. Someone swept me and everything moved… except my toe. It went snap instead. It hurt (though I did finish that round, heh). Now it seems to be mostly fine, though I still keep it taped in class, and it does hurt if someone stomps on it, which does happen.
I see a few notes that remind me of stories from those nights:
- “New guy” was not new! — guy came to gi class in shorts and a t-shirt. Claimed to have no training, so Tim put him with me for his first round. He did rolling kneebars, spinning armbars, John-flipping-Danaher Back Attack System. Sure you’ve never trained before? Really? Okay, buddy. I was so confused, though, as I was expecting normal brand-new guy stuff and couldn’t adjust to this new look; I should have controlled him more, though I did manage to escape everything as he had no pressure or control. I was annoyed with myself later for not being able to switch gears.
- White belt asked how much I weigh — this was just last night. New white belt dude, who to his credit was trying very hard to not just fling me around even if it meant I passed his guard. He asked how much I weigh and then immediately got a horrified look on his face and said, “I mean, if that’s okay to ask! If it’s not, I’m sorry! I mean, you felt so heavy, I just–!” I laughed and assured him it was fine, that jiu-jitsu is a place you can ask that of a lady and not get slapped.
About a month ago, I got in to Bullet Journaling (BuJo), which scratches the twin itches of my need for planning/order and my desire to write all the things, while also letting me do all that on my own terms. So far, going fantastically well. (After a month going absolutely bonkers overboard with color and stencils and all the collections [I filled an entire notebook in one month. I did say ALL the things.], I’m in a new journal using just a black pen and a ruler.)
Two things a lot of people use their journals for is to track habits and to track moods. I do have a small habit tracker almost hidden in my weekly layout (and the things I track are actually built into my morning and evening routines, so they’re hard for me to miss), but trying to track moods or anything else didn’t seem helpful to me.
Until I decided to make a BJJ page, and came up with the “BJJ Mood Tracker” :
(date and rank columns are actually as small as possible, to give Notes as much room. But I’m not going to fight WordPress’ html right now or take a picture.)
The Date column can obviously track how frequently I train (right now, M/W/Sa). In the Rank column, I rate myself for the class on a color scale of White Belt to Black Belt and then color the square accordingly. (Diagonals are allowed as well, e.g, I felt purple in drilling and blue in live rolls.) And then the Notes column for a short explanation, esp. for lower rankings.
As far as actual training, I’m in a spiral of “…I just need to work on ALL THE THINGS,” so my list gets bigger every class and I end up getting basically nothing done about anything. And then I realize it’s too much, so I pick a couple of things, but then add one more thing, and then just one more thing, and then before long I’m back to all the things. Maybe this can be the next thing I tackle with the Bullet Journal. 😉