I had been warned that BJJ, alongside of being an awesome hobby, was going to make me feel massive levels of frustration at times. Oh come on, I thought. Sure, I can get anxious at times, but I’m used to doing stuff I’m not good at. Like failing at administrative tasks at work and having to correct mistakes and apologise to people afterwards. Or climbing inside an MRI machine every now and then and staying immobile while they take pictures of the inside of my head. I’m FINE with not being a natural at everything I encounter. Also, the exercise BJJ provides is beneficial to me (in moderation) and at the end of the day, it’s just a hobby. Why would I let myself care so much that I would get upset?
Anyone reading this who has done jiu-jitsu for more than 3 months must be shaking their head sagely by this point. I did indeed get my comeuppance, and it came in the form of standing up from closed guard.
Pull the other one
A positive side to last Wednesday’s class was that this time, I did not fall over during the warm-up runs. The technique part of class was simply escaping from closed guard by standing up. We did practice it on the basic course, so I wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with the concept. There was again an uneven number of students present, so I toddled confidently over to two bluebelts, one of whom teaches himself and the other keeps winning at high-level competitions.
I couldn’t physically stand up, like at all, or only with much difficulty. At one point, the blue belt underneath me told me to just skip to the guard passing bit we were supposed to practice after breaking the guard. He also advised me to try to move my knee outwards before lifting my second leg – it sounded sensible but made little difference.
For the first time, I wanted to cry inside my own gym. What wasn’t I getting? Was I just too unfit for the sport, or did my disability affect my muscles too in a way I hadn’t realised before? I felt like I was just cutting into the practice time of the blue belts with my own failing, though of course they said nothing.
At some point, the teaching bluebelt reminded me to:
- not bend downwards while preparing to lift myself from the ground, and more importantly:
- bend away from that side of myself I was about to lift!
Seriously. No wonder it had been nearly impossible to stand up with my whole weight leaning against one leg. I can’t promise standing guard breaks are now my forte, but at least the advice gave me something to work towards. As did piece of advice number 3: remember to lean back when pushing your partner’s leg down, that will make them let go of your midriff easier.
Feeling again a bit overwhelmed and fatigued, I slipped away after one round of sparring, not feeling like my best self. Some classes just are going to be like this every now and then, I pondered. Also, I got ill by Thursday which put me out of all classes for the rest of the week, so who knows what might have been bubbling under. I did do some mobility training of YouTube regardless of the flu though, making my partner laugh.
Last positive note: I managed to do that sort of forward roll kids do on our new double-size bed that was delivered on Saturday. Maybe the day will come when I’m able to perform it on a hard surface.