Commuting people, with a girl looking into camera, talking on phone.

Fundamentals of the Fundamentals: Week 19 of Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-jitsu is difficult and hard to master. It takes years, they say. This week I managed to be  overwhelmed at class again, but some tiny essentials might just finally have sunken in to aid my general survival in the art. 

Fighting side Control

Tuesday. The instructor had noticed during half guard practice the past week that the class needed more practice in how not to let their opponent get into side control. As I shrimped away from beneath my opponent, I tried to focus on the fact that my dexterity, though still quite laughable, has improved a tiny bit since November when I first stepped on the mat. I still do not understand any techniques the first, second or thirteenth time I’m shown them. Two different training partners, one-stripe white belts, had to re-explain the exercises to me when we were practicing. But just possibly, I might now learned to keep my arm straight when blocking my opponent’s side control attempt with it. That is at least something.

Tiny Attempts to Hack Half Guard

Post-class brain fog, caused by physical exertion and new techniques.

Friday. Coach, too, wants us to do exercises where we attack from half guard. They surely like the half guard here. One-stripe white belt keeps reminding me to block him with my top leg. I keep groaning in frustration as I KNOW I should know to do that by heart! But by the end of class, he does not need to remind me any more: maybe it has finally become an automatic response.

Coach appears to hover round the pair of us like a floating brown bear. “Sohvi, you’re on your back. Turn your upper body to your side. Don’t keep your elbow there. Move it so that it is underneath your own shoulder.”

Again I feel like a special needs case. And why shouldn’t I, i’m disabled and a lot heavier than the average student. It’s fine. Coach’s attention helps, though: the technique becomes easier. I don’t end up on my back as swiftly. I decide to view the day as a success and will worry about mastering half guard sometime the next decade.

What we’ve learned: most of Jiu-Jitsu requires patience and being okay with one’s incompleteness. I’m still working on both traits, but let’s see where I am in a year. Maybe in 2029 I have learned the berimbolo or something equally impressive.

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