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The New New Girl

I didn't go to my normal Monday morning class today. I packed my gi and everything but could not drag myself out the door. Having just returned from a weekend getaway to the Poconos, I am unmotivated to do anything, which includes wash the suitcase full of dirty clothes, restock the fridge, and work on jiu-jitsu drills.

I was happy to be on vacation. Last week was a frustrating one for training, one of those weeks that makes me think I must just suck at jiu-jitsu. The last time I trained was Wednesday. It was another chapter in my neverending quest to submit the new girl. The new girl is bigger than me. She has strong legs. I have no idea how long she has been doing jiu-jitsu, only that she is a white belt like me and I first met her 2 weeks ago. She is very nice. She is a good partner, eager to learn, and not awkward and spazzy like many students are in the beginning. In other words, she rarely elbows me in the nose by accident.

I know more jiu-jitsu than the new girl. During the drills portion of the class I usually get the move sooner and help talk her through it, although to be honest there are days when neither of us get it and we need some more experienced person to help. When we roll together I am constantly on top. I manage to sweep her, mount her, hold her down in side control, get her in my guard. I have rolled with her about ten times now and have still not submitted her.

The new girl knows two moves and she has tapped me with both of them. Granted one time was because I let her get me in the position so I could work on a defense I had learned in drills class. The defense did not work, or should I say, I could not work it. The defense itself works fine, I have seen other people pull it off easily. I have seen other people submit the new girl. (Clearly I should have gone to drills this morning.)

In karate my job is always to make the new girl feel welcome in class.  Since I am the senior woman in our dojo, and one of the instructors, I help her learn her basics, make her feel comfortable. There is usually no question about whether or not I can "beat" her (clearly I can) since her first time sparring she is so nervous that I barely touch her.

Jiu-jitsu is different for me. Even the new girls are bigger. Often they are these strange aggressive women who did things like played rugby in college. They talk about MMA. They wear knee pads. They all used to train somewhere. Only once have we had a new girl who was small like me and had never "done anything like this before". I really liked that new girl. She was nervous but excited. She thought jiu-jitsu was "interesting." I once taught her how to do a knee-elbow escape. Then she quit.

I miss that new girl. I could submit her. I could also teach her things which made me feel a bit less hopeless. I like this newer version a lot but I am frustrated by her. We get so few women here that I am happy to see any type walk in the door. But if I could pick, here is my personal ad: Wanted, one small female to learn BJJ. Must be normal, that is not angry or violent or taking jiu-jitsu as part of her therapy. Must be less than 115 pounds and shorter than 5 foot 3. Must wear a t-shirt underneath her gi top and keep it on the entire time we are training. (I know it gets hot in here but the whole sports bra/gi pants thing is awkward for everyone) Must have a sense of humor. (Really? It's called north-south?  Really?? And I put my head where?) Must come to class consistently, even after your boyfriend visits you there and finds out what "rolling" actually looks like. In return, I promise to be friendly and welcoming. Even while submitting you. Because I know how it feels to be the new girl. Trust me, I have felt like the new girl for months.

Hmmm, it seems I have become what I hate most, a whiner. Obviously the solution to this problem would have been to get off  my lazy butt and go to class. Now submitting the new girl will have to wait until Wednesday. But since it is now too late for today I will go bake some muffins instead. Muffins are easy to control. Unlike jiu-jitsu, if I just follow the recipe they will always turn out exactly the way I had hoped.

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