Sasha mentioned tonight that one of her friends reads this blog and asked her if she trained with me. So everyone say “Hi, Sasha’s friend!”
You know, we seem to have so many women training now — 10, maybe? — and Ez said there are 2 more now besides Janet in Salem — but we all seem to train on different schedules. Maybe we need to have a Team Mannon Women’s Open Mat to all train with each other, lol. 😛 Unfortunately, few of the other women seem to be on the same schedule as I am; it’s been several weeks since I rolled with another woman. (I got to drill & roll with Ez tonight, which was weird because he’s small while most of the other guys are at least 30lbs bigger than me.)
After several weeks of getting crushed by everyone and rolling with lots of big guys and starting to feel yet again like I don’t know anything at all, tonight the guys were feeling generous and seemed content to let me play around a lot. Which is nice, because I had moments that actually felt like jiu-jitsu, and those have been lacking for a while. And it was fun, which I always like.
My knee seems to be around 95%… 95% of the time, lol. It’s finally a bit better on side-to-side drills and some other warmup stuff (though of course now my thumbs & wrists are presenting me with new issues, sigh). Bridging/shrimping is still the missing 5%. But on Wednesday it was giving me enough issues that I had to tell the white belts that I may tap when they weren’t actually doing anything because of my knee (so please stop, because I do mean it). (With the blue belts, I know they’ll stop, so I don’t have to tell them.)
And I did tap on a guard pass that put quick pressure on the MCL and another time when the knee got twisted, even though I knew he wouldn’t do anything to it; I just couldn’t see an immediate safe way to get out. Well, that’s what happens when you train with an injury that limits your jiu-jitsu — you have to be an intelligent and mature grappler and do what needs doing in order to keep yourself safe, even if it’s not what your ego would like to do.
I’ve trained with and through so many injuries, and my thinking about how to train with them has evolved through that time. I used to tell partners that something was hurt so please avoid it, or would tuck an arm in my belt, or would ask them to go light. (And I will certainly respect the wishes of a partner who says any of the above to me [though I have a silent snort when they use the limb they said was hurt or pull the arm out when they need it or themselves go hard].)
Now, however, I believe that it is completely up to me to defend the injury; if I can’t defend myself properly, then I shouldn’t be rolling at all. It isn’t my partner’s responsibility to babysit my injury. And sometimes “defending myself” means letting them have something if defending it will cause pain. The most I will do now is tell a partner that I have an injury and that I may tap when they don’t expect it — but that I totally do mean it — but that otherwise they should roll however they want and that I’ve been training long enough to know when I need to tap. (And if they seem to be hesitant anyway, I’ll start putting more pressure on them to get them moving.) When they get worried that they’re hurting me, I promise them that I will tap if I need to.
The giant brace (actually 2 braces) on the knee does highlight the injury, and most guys will stop as soon as they realize they’re doing a leg attack on that leg (and usually transition to the other leg, if they can, which I’ll generally even let them set up, since it’s only fair — they’re being a good partner, so I’ll be one in return). If they don’t let go, then I just tap. Being able to walk is more important than assuaging my ego.
I guess what I’ve come to realize is that it’s only practice. If I tap, the world doesn’t end. As long as I can learn something and come out in one piece, then I call it a win.