Last week was interesting.
I rolled Tuesday morning. Rather I showed up Tuesday morning, wearing a gi, and proceeded to do something that may have possibly resembled something like BJJ; I cannot be sure as I felt like a rag doll for the entire class. Good times. I shook my head, threw my sucker in the ground for a few minutes, and moved on. The occasional crappy class is to be expected, like a fruitcake at Christmas.
I spent the better part of Wednesday afternoon contemplating my timing and re-energizing my focus on the art of the offense.
Then...Wednesday night. I had an excellent roll! We worked on two chokes that begin with your opponent in your guard. I was feeling great, moving through each technique slowly and methodically, paying careful attention to the placement of my elbow and shoulder around my opponent's arm.
We started out rounds about 45 minutes in, and I felt simply magical. My timing was quick, accurate, and razor sharp. I rolled with one of my favorite sparring partners, and I easily glided through her game without thought, without strength, oh it was so free!
I trained in classical ballet for 10 years when I was younger, so I know how many hours and years of practice it takes for a dancer to achieve a certain line without thought or effort. Could it be that after 5 years of BJJ training I beginning to approach a new level of muscle memory? Well, Wednesday night, the answer was yes, as I received two stripes on my purple belt, for a total of three.
Belt promotions are few, and sometimes several years apart. In between the belt promotions, stripes are benchmarks that tell you the hard work is paying off. The details of the techniques are becoming a part of your sub-conscious.