At the end of January, I heard that Team Lawton was hosting the Empower Women Tournament on March 25th – women only, submission only, white and blue belts only. The format was round robin with 3 weight divisions. Each weight division would break out into separate white and blue belt brackets if entries allowed.
I should have known I was in trouble right away. Any other time people had talked about tournaments, I’d nope’d on out of the conversation immediately. No thanks, all set, hell no. This time, I found myself reading the details. Looking up the drive time to Farmingdale. Asking friends questions about how these things worked. At one point I told Rob that I felt like I was in full fight or flight mode, heart racing and hands shaking. I figured that was my body telling me to run away – he said it was my body “calling me up” (more like out). This was the next hard thing I needed to do. The next stage of Embracing the Awkward in BJJ. So that night, before I could talk myself out of it, I signed up. And I spent the next nearly two months wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into…
We’ve all heard of the law of intended consequences. You do something to get result A, result B comes along for the ride. I spent a few weeks doing “focused freewriting” and suddenly noticed that my Sudoku skills had made a major leap forward. I might not have made the connection except that the writing guide I was using mentioned that surprising gains in other areas was a common phenomenon. Recently I’ve realized that my training in BJJ has had a rather interesting, if incongruous, unintended consequence: I’ve started to explore being girly.
Recently I’ve talked to a few people at the gym and how often I train has come up. I don’t know if it’s my history of rowing crew in college (one day off a week, two days a week w/lifting in addition to practice) or just general obliviousness that it never occurred to me until now that I train A LOT.
About a year ago, I was teaching classes for my first major software deployment and newly re-cleared to train BJJ after my hardware removal surgery. I tried to schedule the classes I taught so they didn’t interfere with Academy classes. I needed an outlet for the stress of constantly being “on” for my students.
Despite taking a broken leg and two surgeries within a year like a champ, I was still a bit of a cupcake when it came to pushing myself.
A few months back I saw Paranoid Social Club live for the first time in a long time and was reminded of how much I love this song. PSC’s songs tend to be on the upbeat and playful side of my alt-spectrum. They are an ass-shaking, head-banging good time. But this one goes a little further.
What is Two Girls? It’s Ludacris’s “lady in the street but a freak in the bed” concept expanded upon in glorious and catchy detail. It lays out the dichotomy of what men desire in a woman with a sweet surprise at the end. (I also believe you could flip the gender roles and it’d still ring true.)
August 31st was my two year Jitsu-versary. The picture of my feet on the mat for my first BJJ class is a Facebook memory that I will always want to “share.” It is the inspiration behind so much of my writing these days that perhaps this blog should be called ‘Grind This Way’ instead.
If you had asked me two years ago what the On Ramp class would mean for me, I might have said something flip about choking dudes out. And in my head, that’s all I was doing – taking an intro class that was meant to give me some basic skills applicable to self-defense. I didn’t think of myself as someone who had started to “train Jiu Jitsu” until my first night on the big mats. Maybe not even then. I still make flippant comments about choking dudes out but BJJ is so much more than that to me.
Over the summer, I had been training in earnest for my first stripe in BJJ. Two weeks ago, I was signed off on all the drills and techniques except one … the sprawl. For a combination of physical and mental reasons, the sprawl is my personal Everest. The mental reason is easy to describe – to perform a sprawl, you essentially throw yourself to the ground and my brain thinks that is a bad idea. The physical part is harder to describe, suffice it to say that some parts tighter than they should be and others aren’t as strong as they need to be.
The first time I mentioned Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on this blog in 2015, I said that I was looking to acquire some skills as a newly single woman and “learning to grapple and defend myself in awkward situations seemed like an excellent choice.” What I didn’t mention was what prompted me to finally act on my thought.
When I talked about breaking my leg, I eluded to being very sensitive. When I woke up from my 1st surgery, my body was screaming from the intrusion and the normal, cautious increases in dosage dictated by protocol took two days to reach a level and combination that finally controlled my pain. I actually had someone ask me if I abused painkillers – he had in the past but the cocktail I was on after surgery still would have put him on his ass.
It isn’t that I have a high drug tolerance or that I’m “sensitive to pain” – it’s that I feel everything, for better or worse. In the ambulance on the way to the ER, I felt the coolness of the saline flush in my IV. The EMT was astonished because he’d never had anyone notice it before. I had a second surgery in December because I could feel the plate and 7 screws in my leg, despite reassurances from friends that they barely ever noticed their metal implants. Continue reading SoML: Scars→