BJJ: Ain’t That a Kick in the Head

Sometimes the best thing that can happen to your night is a kick in the head. Let me explain…

Tonight, on the last roll of circuit training, another team crashed into me and my partner while we were both heads down (so neither of us saw it coming). A bony body part of another gym member crashed into my head/face with a loud crack that my partner likened to the sound effect of a knife cutting a cantaloupe. What went through my head was something like this:

“OUCH! ………Huh, it doesn’t hurt as much as I expected……… I hope it isn’t a concussion, that would be bad…….. it’s OK, they’ll know what to do.”

Closed guard safety position
Not the same partner but similar position (Photo credit: The Academy)

It was moments before the timer ended the round. My partner suggested I not hop right up and I figured it was wise to follow his advice. People who were educated about such injuries (either by profession or by life) took a look and didn’t see anything alarming. Once that was established, Jay told me to resume rolling with my partner. ┬áIt wasn’t for very long, but it was to provide a very important point…

As I have said many times before, I got into BJJ because I wanted to learn about self defense. Even though it isn’t the only reason I’ve stayed, I’m still interested in viewing and applying my skills through that lens. What had just happened to me, Jay said, was the equivalent of a large man deliberately punching me from a close distance. I now know what that feels like, but more importantly I know how I react. It startled me, but it didn’t subdue me. It didn’t take my facilities or abilities away from me.

As far as self-defense lessons go, that’s pretty huge. I am a 37 year old woman who has lead a relatively white bread life. I’m fairly certain that tonight was the first time in my adult life I’ve been struck in the head with real force. And even though it was an unfamiliar experience, it didn’t “undo” me – I could still think. I could still fight. If I can keep my wits when an unexpected blow lands, then I’m that much better prepared to respond to an attack that I see coming.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go snuggle with an icepack (as instructed).

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