Tag Archives: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

BJJ: There is No ‘Sorry’ in Jiu Jitsu

OK, so technically there can be sorry in Jiu Jitsu. Just not nearly as often as it gets said. Did you inflict major damage? Say sorry. Did you have a moment and act like a complete dick? Say sorry. But minor bumps and innocent mistakes? STFU and keep training.

And there’s a reason I modified a line from a League of Their Own – women are usually** the worst offenders. Even in life in general, we say sorry too often. We’ll say sorry for things that need no apology. Sorry when someone else bumps into us. Sorry because we needed to ask a question. Add in a male dominated sport and you get ridiculous situations like a 140# female apologizing to a 220# military enlisted blue belt male for an accidental elbow to the head. And we’re talking about a hit that wasn’t even hard enough to make him pause. Or saying sorry to our partner because we didn’t remember all the steps to a move we were just shown.

I was the partner for one woman in the gym on her first night on the big mats. We were doing fan sweep and you could tell she really enjoyed the power and physicality. But she could not stop apologizing. She was, from my perspective, apologizing both for the roughness AND for the fact she was enjoying it. She’d block my arm, bump me with her hips, and as soon as I hit the mat, she’d sheepishly say “Sorry” and laugh self-consciously. Women aren’t supposed to like fighting, aren’t supposed to like being rough with one another. I encouraged her to just rip it – stop apologizing and have fun. She couldn’t stop herself from saying sorry entirely, but she said it less often and enjoyed herself more.

In contrast, I had a chance to train with a woman from another gym (funny enough, the woman from my first match in my one and only tournament) and she didn’t say sorry once. It was so different, it was striking. So much so that I reached out to her to ask her how that came to be. She couldn’t explain it, she said lucked out that she never got into the habit. She said sometimes she’d excuse herself in advance if something was going to be particularly uncomfortable, let them know she’d try her best not to maim them or pull hair. I wish I knew how she’s managed to avoid the habit that so many of us are stuck in, so I could spread more of that around.

So ladies, to paraphrase a dog training friend, let’s stop mousing around out there and get to work! It’s a complex sport that takes a lifetime to master, don’t apologize for not executing it correctly when you’re learning. It’s a combat sport, don’t apologize because you aren’t being gentle – that’s the point. To quote the aforementioned blue belt “It’s a fighting sport. If you do it right, it’ll hurt.”

In the words of singer and fellow jiujiteria, Demi Lovato…

Sorry, not sorry.

** I said usually, boys, I know we don’t “own” being overly apologetic. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.

BJJ: I Have the Touch

No one get excited, I am not saying I’ve got some sort of magic touch in BJJ. I’m not even good at BJJ, much less magical.

What’s on my mind lately is “positive touch” and how BJJ provides that contact we social creatures crave so much. And how much that’s helped me personally in the last year or so. I found myself telling my “touch-starved” story twice recently and it dawned on me just how much BJJ had helped me.

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The Academy Women's Team

BJJ: Embrace the Opponent (Empower Women Tournament)

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.

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Gritty in Pink

BJJ: Gritty in Pink

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.

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SoML: Addicted (BJJ Edition)

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.

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BJJ: Knuckle Punk

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.

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BJJ: Grind This Way

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.

my feet on the mat of my BJJ school
First steps, first reps

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BJJ: The First Step to Being a Bad Ass is…

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.

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BJJ: Self Defense without the Nut Shots

The first time I mentioned Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on this blog in 2015, I saidĀ that I was looking to acquire some skills as a newly single woman and “learning to grapple and defend myself in awkward situationsĀ seemed like an excellent choice.” What I didn’t mention was what prompted me to finally act on my thought.

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