Skip to main content

Just Do It. (Training, not sneakers.)

Once every few months or so, a couple of east coast jiu-jitsu ladies organize a women's open mat at my school. It is open to anyone, regardless of rank, experience, or gym affiliation. All you need to bring is your gi, your belt, and a positive attitude. 

There were over 30 women in attendance this past Sunday. Thirty ladies, from white belt to black belt, who do jiu-jitsu. The mats were full. The women's changing room was a cornucopia of multi-colored gym bags. It was awesome. 

I overheard plenty of conversations while I was there; newbies asking purple belts for tips, girls who had never met each other before talking about how they got into BJJ. There were the usual jokes about our gis falling off, our hair not staying up, about how much we hate knee on belly. But the overall feeling in the room was one of solidarity. Regardless of our many different teachers and gyms, we were all the same, we were all ladies who do jiu-jitsu. In other words, arm bars are arm bars no matter where you practice them. 

Incredible I know. Martial artists. From different schools. Training together on the same mat. And no, the world did not explode.

This open mat came at a good time for me, after a week of disappointing training. For whatever reason, things were not going well for me last week. My brain was slow, my body sore. I went to class on Friday and got my ass kicked. Lets just say, I was not really feeling the jiu-jitsu love.

The thing about Sunday's triaining is not that I did great. The thing was, I had fun. I was exhausted but I had fun. I couldn't really move my arms afterwards but I had fun. I got triangled by a white belt but I had fun! I rolled with all those ladies and I was reminded that despite the ups and downs, I actually like jiu-jitsu. 

I recently had a conversation with another high ranking karateka about the importance of rejuvenation. Both of us have been doing karate for over twenty years. When you get to that point in your training, you have to find other ways to keep motivated. It is not enough to just go to class twice a week, do some kicks and punches and go home. For some people, like myself, the solution is to find a slightly different art to add to your arsenal. For others, like another senior I know, it is to delve deep into the history of your own style, to learn more about the katas, to drill each punch until it is an absolutely perfect specimen of form and efficiency.

Not to beat a dead horse but I have to say it just one more time. Smart teachers understand this need. Smart teachers trust that their senior students will make good choices, will not get themselves hurt, and most importantly will not jump ship the second they catch a glimpse of someone else's dojo. Smart teachers also understand what I learned by showing up at the open mat this weekend, despite my somewhat dejected attitude; that training, in all its forms, only leads to more training.

So I went to class on Monday. With a whole slew of sore muscles, I went to class on Monday because I trained on Sunday. And then I went on Tuesday, because I went on Monday. And again on Wednesday. By Thursday I was getting a bit sick of jiu-jitsu but there I was in class again. Just in case you missed it, that is 5 days in a row! I am a machine!

I'm gonna take today off. 
I think.

This weekend I will be fortunate enough to participate in a karate workshop which brings together advanced students from two of our local dojos. I have no idea what we are going to do together, but I am pretty sure I will want to go to class every day next week too.

You are either going forward or you are standing still. 
Go forward.
Go train.


Popular posts from this blog

November 20, 2018

This morning, while out walking my dog, I watched a mother put her young boy onto the school bus. "Have a good day," she said. "Listen to your teacher."

The boy, who was about five years old, replied that of course he would, although it was unclear which of his mom's wishes he was agreeing to.

Listening. So and so is a "good listener." We talk so much about it, but many of us have no idea how to actually do it., so caught up in the words inside our own head that it is almost impossible to hear anything else. Yeah I am listening to you, but not really, I am really thinking about the next thing I am going to say. I am listening to you, but not really, because even though you know an awful lot about this, deep down my egotistical brain still thinks I know better. I am listening, but not really because even though you just showed the technique in perfect detail three times, and I swore I was really paying attention, somehow when it was my turn to drill it…


For the past two days I have been feeling sick; an obvious side effect of spending so much time getting breathed on by small, germy children. This morning I was feeling much better, but not well enough for BJJ, so I decided to go to a yoga class instead. Turns out I was not quite well enough because about halfway through class my body was like, "Hey you, sick girl, you are kind of tired, this feels kind of yucky actually. How about you spend some time in child's pose instead."
As a lifelong athlete I am really, really good at getting messages from my body. I am less skilled, however, at actually following them.
This was not a difficult yoga class. But for me, today, it was impossible. My brain really did not like that. As I sat there with my eyes closed, breathing, the ever helpful voice in my head was saying things like "Everyone must think I am so weak. The teacher must think there is really something wrong with me. I should push through anyway. This is pathetic.&qu…

Roller Coaster

Its the roller coaster that gets me. The fact that you are just going along, doing your work, slowly climbing up, everything is going exactly according to plan, then Zoom!, down you go, fast, maybe not all the way to the bottom again, maybe somewhere halfway, but man you got there FAST! And now here we go again, back on the slow climb.
Some days it feels like you are doing everything right, you are busting your ass to accomplish all of your goals in every way that you know how, yet things just aren't going the way you want them to. On those days it is easy to get angry at the world. Don't you see I am doing my best here? Don't you see how hard I am working? OMG just get the f&*k out of my way! Stop asking for more of me! Can't you see I don't have any more??
But the thing is, that down part, it is on the track. It is part of the ride. it has always been a part of the ride. We knew if was coming, we could see it at the top of the long climb up. We didn't know…