January 24, 2010

Ahhhhh, a quiet Sunday night.  Well, not exactly, I am blasting Samba music right now.  Love me some Samba.....

I had a good training week, and by good, I mean there were  highs and lows,  a moment of angst under the weight of a crushed spirit, only to be deflected by my resilience.

My last post was...Tuesday night.  Monday open mat and Tuesday's morning class were okay, nothing spectacular, but I got in there, rolled hard, and left it on the mat.  Went to Bikram yoga Tuesday afternoon.  A double dip!

Then Wednesday night...  I got off work at 4, so I did a KB workout before heading to class.  I did 3 sets of: one-armed swings, 20 reps on each side, 10 snatches on each side, and 5 windmills on each side.

I went to class, which started at 6.  I knew I was in trouble when I felt I was working waaayyy to hard during the warm-up.  Rolling immediately after a KB workout is a new challenge for me, so I expected a certain amount of pushing.

We worked on offensive moves from side control, which was excellent for me.  I have a wonderful side control, but my offense is weak.   Our class is two hours long, so I was grateful for the ample time to work each move slowly, paying close attention to my weight placement.   I concentrated on allowing these offensive gems to burn a front row seat in my brain.  We also did a few drills with a partner; some kind of torturous thing whereby you lay head-toe with your partner and join hands, each person lifts, and bends their legs, swings their hips to the other side, and allows the legs to fall without touching the mat.  Good times.

One of my favorite sparring partners was in class that night.  He usually goes to the day class, so we do not spar very often.  He is also a purple belt, my height (5'-6"), but he is stocky as all get out, and one of the strongest people in class.  So we started rolling, and I swear he must have tapped me out 5 times.  His technique was/is razor sharp, aggressive, and fast.  I was especially thankful he was not holding back and I jumped right back to it after each submission.  But being tapped out like I was some cheap rag doll was positively demoralizing.  Ah, so goes the process of practicing a martial art.  Just when you think you are in an improvement stage, someone comes along and slaps you back to last week.   After that round, I shook his hand, thanked him profusely and told him I wanted to roll with him more.  He said, "Hey no problem, you know I am never going to take it easy on you."

The rest of class went downhill from there.  I was just broken.  The remainder of my rounds that night were laughable.  I felt like I didn't know anything about jiu jitsu.  Each movement I made was filled with just enough of a mistake to cause my attempts at technique to disintegrate like a snowman in summer.

I walked to my truck after class holding the pieces of my insides in cupped hands.  I was near tears which was not something I had not experienced since I was a new white belt.  This can really happen!  BJJ is so taxing on the system, one delves "inside" to the place in the brain where the superhighways of physical stress and emotional stress are intertwined.  BJJ tugs on these intersections, and the result can be extremely moving at times.

As I drove home that night, I felt frustration, anger, disappointment, at having had such a crappy class.  The usual suspects passed through my head, "Why did I think I could do this? What was I thinking?  How did my instructor not kick me out of class tonight?  Why is everyone better? Stronger? blah blah blahhhhh."  Whine. Boo. Hiss.  Sucker in Dirt.

 My wonderful husband greeted me at my car door, as he does every night when I arrive home, and all I could do was offer a paltry, catatonic, "Hello" as I trudged in the house and made a bee line for the shower.  Ahhhhh, hot water, the healing tonic.  I sat down in the shower and let the class drain drain drain for a few minutes.  These days are to be expected when you are training for something.  I shook it off, soaped up, and moved on.  

One bad class can derail your training, or you can take it as gift from god and use it to fuel the jet engines; I chose the latter.  It's so simple.  It's a decision.  You just  decide to be excellent.

I went to class on Thursday night with more steel.  I had a better class.  I rolled with my favorite sparring partner (another female).  Her speed is like some kind of hyperspace situation, and I relish the challenge of working around it.  I practiced my triangle move a few times, and actually locked it one time.  I am only giving myself half credit for that one however, because my opponent was a poor unsuspecting white belt who had no idea why I was locking my knee and ankle around his head.

Friday night our school had a no-gi class, which I did not attend due to a 330 am wake up time for work on Saturday (for a project my team was working on).  I did however, do a great kettel bell/club bell  workout.  Three sets of: 5 swings to order with the CB, one 10 pound CB in each hand, followed by 10 swings to order, and then overhead and down toward the back, 20 KB snatches, and 5 windmills on each side using the press movement, AND overhead rows with the KB.  The overhead row involved placing a towel through the loop of the KB, and laying back on a large exercise ball.  Since the ball elevated my body, I had a wide range of motion for the row, plus I had to use all my core strength to keep my balance, which was also busy lifting the KB.  All in all, it was a great workout.

Saturday afternoon, I was off work early (due to our adjusted schedule), so I was able to catch a 430 Bikram yoga class.  I think I have mentioned before that the left side of the Bikram studio I go to is slightly warmer than the right.  Well, the week had already been pretty intense, so I opted for the "cooler" side of the room.  This turned out to be a great choice, as I worked extra hard on going deeper into the stretches than ever.

I was thinking about food issues this week.  Women in their 40's need to pay closer attention to metabolism rates, joints, and core strength.  We are perfectly capable of performing as well as our younger opponents, but we cannot slack off with Mallomars and ice cream.  I stick to plant based diet, with lean proteins and clean carbohydrates.  I am not one of those people who is allergic to everything, but I have noticed a marked improvement in my performance when I keep my sugar and wheat intake to the bare minimum.  I opt for rice or quinoa based carbohydrate sources.   I eat heaps of salads and vegetable stir-frys, and I DO use salad dressing and oil for cooking.  Fat does not really affect my weight so much, but if I start eating too much wheat and sugar, oh dear, all things bad will happen; my mood crashes, I get bloated, and my energy drops, not good.

Oh, and please drink copious amounts of water!!!!!    That's enough for now, I am off to bed.


  1. Loves! I love hearing the whine boo hiss sucker in the dirt.

    I also loves the entire paragraph about a bad training session can derail you, or you choose excellence. Bravo! Keep it up, woman!

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I finished a class tonight and felt like I had no business even wearing my white belt. I expected people to stop speaking to me. I felt weak, uncoordinated, like I wasn't learning and like I had no business sparring. Reading this was a huge help and I know I just need to get up and head for class Monday. Thanks!

  3. Megan- Welcome to BJJ! I am glad you enjoyed my post.

    Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, experiences moments, sometimes entire weeks, filled with frustration and despair. Do not allow the devil of those frustrated moments to keep you out of class. I firmly believe these are some of the most important classes in martial arts training. This is where you learn perseverance, commitment, and focus.

    These periods of "uneveness" are usually followed up by a surge forward. About two months ago, one of my classmates told me he had been feeling beat up and defeated. (He was a white belt at the time) "Everyone is tapping me, where is my technique?" Three weeks later we had a class together (which is rare, as his schedule is different from mine) and he was sporting a new blue belt. I laughed and said, "Hey! What about all that complaining before?" His perseverance paid off. His focus and strength propelled him to a new level.


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