October 23, 2010

I am HUGE in Japan.  And Saudi Arabia.  And Russia.  Prom Queen huge.  

In a fit of high school level vanity and curiosity, I looked at my "stats" page the other day, and I was surprised to see I had several page views from Saudi Arabia, Russia and a few from Japan.  

So I am wondering, who are these people?  Military?  Spooks?  Embassy employees?  Do they like my blog?  Or do they think I am a dolt?  Curiouser and curiouser.

Well, my focus on speed and offense this past rocky year is FINALLY starting to manifest itself in my limbs.  I rolled with Andres and Chris on Tuesday morning.  I locked a triangle on Andres, which is significant because he is also a purple belt, and outweighs me by 80 pounds.  I almost  locked in a another triangle on Chris, who is my size and also a purple belt, and has maddening movement skills.  I felt strong and threatening and balletic and most important, offensive.  A well crafted, purposeful, Tasmanian Devil.  I could see worry in my opponent's eyes as I shifted from one tactic to another, taking control of the fight.  

I am/have been forcing myself to try it, try it, and try it again and again and again and again... And by "it,"  I refer not only to the triangle, but any glimmer of a submission I see three moves away. This process has left me hanging my head low on more than one occasion, as the number of failed attempts that lead to a successful submission loom over my practice and confidence like K2.  

I consider myself to be low on the ego scale, but heck, I don't want to let a lower belt tap me out, and yet, in order to move my practice forward, I must be willing to "try it again" at the risk of sacrificing a position of advantage.  Giving up my ruthless side control for knee on belly for an arm bar has resulted in more sweeps than I care to remember.  The process of improving my spider guard was, for a long time, like a damn gold plated invitation saying "Pass my guard! go ahead!  it's easy!"  Allowing the fear of defeat to curb your efforts is like putting an impenetrable wall in front of your road to excellence.  

Ahh! But the occasional light of success peaks through the cold with the crack of lightening.  The work of failure is carving through to refined, effortless skill.

SIS!  My sister came down from LA this week and rolled with me on Tuesday morning.  She recently started BJJ at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, where her white belt only class is made up of 50, FIFTY!! people.  Apparently they do not spar in this beginning class, instead they concentrate on specific techniques.  So, Tuesday morning was her first sparring session and she was completely freaked out.  She is much more cautious and careful than me, and a bit reluctant to just go for it, so she concentrated on defense.  I told her later, learning to spar can be a little intimidating, as being pretzeled up while fighting does not necessarily feel normal.  All in good time, I told her, all in good time.  

She had a good time, and Fabio welcomed her with open arms.  My classmates greeted her like a family member.  BJJ is a beautiful community.
Train well,



  1. I wonder how that experience will affect her training at the Torrance academy, given that they have that somewhat unusual attitude to both sparring and competition? Must be very different in a class where there is no resistance sparring at all, not even specific sparring (like guard passage etc).

    Whenever I find myself starting to worry about getting tapped by lower belts, I read this incredibly awesome thread. Always makes me feel better by putting things into perspective.

    Still most unfortunate I can't get your blog's RSS feed to load in my Google Reader. :(

  2. Thanks for the reminder: "Allowing the fear of defeat to curb your efforts is like putting an impenetrable wall in front of your road to excellence."
    Well said.


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