Running out of jiu-jitsu

I have ended up teaching a couple more mornings (including today). I’m getting better at remembering the warm-up, at least. Though, I might already be scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of what I am actually capable of teaching at jiu-jitsu. What do I do when I roll? Er, whatever seems logical at the time…?

And because most of the morning class is white belts, I have to make sure I can articulate it in a way that they can replicate. Speak English? This early in the morning? Okay, guys, so you use your … knee? no… …elbow! This is your elbow.

I also finally made a playlist for the morning classes, which was extra good for this morning as the guy who I usually ask to DJ was not there. (There was also the one morning he played what we dubbed “The Wedding Mix” because it included I Want To Know What Love Is, which is a weird song to roll to.)

Saturday we had our first Open Mat since opening back up. There’s usually a lot of traffic in the area on Saturday mornings, so we wanted to give it some time. College students are back in town now, though (goodness, the traffic!), so Tim decided to test out having the class. Seemed to go well, and had a decent turn-out.

And I know all that because, crazy that I am, I was there for my 7th training session of the week o.0 (I haven’t done that in years!) We had a new lady trying out class last week, though, and she wanted to come in again on Saturday, so I went in to train with her. Thankfully it was just training with her, and not getting slobberknocked by all the guys, too. Sitting down after class was still a big mistake, though, as it took a lot to get moving again.


We always get folks moving to town and bringing their jiu-jitsu with them. I love it because it’s new games to learn from and new perspectives. There’s a new purple dude who is excellent fun to roll with and a blue belt guy who likes to invert. I was rolling with the purple belt a couple weeks ago, and when we finished he said, “So what guard do you like to play?” Me: “Um, er, uh, I play, um, kind of, er, …butterfly?” (And immediately realized I had not touched butterfly at all that round. Doh.) Then we crawled off to our next partners.

But that got me thinking. If a purple belt meeting my game for the first time cannot tell what kind of guard or game I like to play, what does that say about my game? It probably says that my game is all-over-the-place and doesn’t seem to have any purpose to it. Which… yeah, is what it is. I tend to wait on what my partner wants to play, then engage with that. The most “active” I am is in trying to stay safe with white belt boys; I want no part of them doing anything smashy to me, so I do not wait around on them and instead just shut them down as much as I can without hitting their hulk-smash button.

Now, though, I’m trying to go back to playing MY game. It’s butterfly and open and spider and some full guard. It’s the squirrelly, hook-heavy, flippy, spinny, armbarring stuff I used to do. I think I used to be semi-decent at those things, but I let them go and tried to learn new things (like half-guard, blergh — though it actually suddenly seems to finally be working recently) and tried to “work with” my partners, with the end result that I’ve become a hodgepodge of half-hearted techniques and no actual plan when I roll. But, back to working MY game, and then perhaps seeing if other things can fit in or branch off from there.

I’ve already had one encouragement that I might be back on track: I rolled with the same guy just last week, and this time he complimented my jiu-jitsu for being smooth and flowy and said it was fun to roll with me. Squee!!!

As for learning new things, I now have my personal computer sitting on the floor in my home office and playing the How to Beat the Bigger Stronger Opponent series. I’ve watched all of Emily’s two series before (gi and nogi), but I haven’t really watched Brandon Mullins’ series, so trying to see what I can pick up maybe.

Forcefield

Our academy sits in a great location — a few blocks from downtown, right on the corner of Main Street and another major road, on the first-floor corner of the building. There are two sides of windows for all the car and foot traffic to see in, letting the classes themselves advertise the classes.

On the other hand, we’re on the west end of the building, so the sun blasts through those all windows in the evening. Everyone tries to avoid that front corner (and the whole front half toward the end of class) because it’s hotter and the sun is in your eyes. For years we have hinted to Tim that he should maybe do something about that, and for years he has said that he’ll consider it, but nothing really came of it. (He did hang a couple of flags on one side, which helped over there a bit).

Recent world events, though, have added an extra impetus to cover those windows from things that would glare through them, shall we say. After a short stint using brown paper to completely block out everything (but which also meant we could not see out), our windows are now covered in a gray wrap that blocks out the worst of the glares but also lets us see out. Bonus: the whole academy is much cooler during the evenings.

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Sherri got her blue belt! Wohoo! Now I can feel slightly less pathetic when she smashes me into the mat.

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I had to fill in as instructor for the morning class the other day. I somehow forgot half the warm-up exercises so cut that short, then miscalculated how long rolling would take so cut drilling too short, too, and we rolled 2 rounds more than usual. Oops. Probably worked out, though I doubt I’ll be asked to fill in for a while, lol.

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.