Overwhelmed at Open Mat: Week 8/9 of Jiu-Jitsu

The gym had a holiday break from lessons, which was broadly fine.

Me and my partner happened to merge households during this time.


I’ve yet to meet the person who doesn’t regard moving as gnaaaah. At least my current weight training regime (once a week on the allegedly ineffective gym machines, when I feel like going to the gym) might have made hauling boxes a bit easier.

So no BJJ during moving week. My gym’s Facebook group, however, was swarmed by people arranging grappling sessions at the gym. This is commonplace outside classes and missing two weeks of jiu-jitsu started to feel a bit too weird. I wanted to go to one of these sessions now, but I also felt really nervous about the idea of joining the more skilled girls, boys, and people. What if I ruined their fun by flailing about and being a big lump of suck? What if grappling without an instructor would be complete massacre and I would be torn apart limb by limb?

Luckily, one of the instructors of my basic course was asking for grappling partners the Thursday after my move. I felt less intimidated by this being someone I actually knew a bit already. So off to the gym I went.

Sparring was also broadly fine for the 30 minutes I lasted. I felt like I had forgotten even the tiny bit of jiu-jitsu I’d crammed into my brain since November, but sparring partners were mostly happy to instruct. As a total newbie, I feel a bit ashamed of the fact I can’t really do any attacks. I’ve been so focused on delaying being submitted I don’t know what to do if I end up in a favourable position. But it’s okay to not get good fast. I’ve decided.

30 minutes of sparring is better than the 20 minutes of sparring I was able to do the first time, but bailing after a half hour still feels a bit embarrassing. It was not due to physical exhaustion, rather a mental one. I had just spent 6 minutes with 5 different partners each, all with their own grappling style and goals. All treated me well, but tolerating this sort of intensity will take a bit of time, I think. Not to mention being okay with feeling vulnerable, which is a bit triggering for me.

Before the open mat, Emilia gave me good tips on how to practise my inverted roll. Hopefully I get to improve in that this spring.

This week, I’m trying to attend classes on Wednesday, Thursday and possibly Saturday as well. I’m glad about classes starting again, and about buying a gi that fits (an A4).

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