Monthly Archives: August 2010

What We Can Do vs. What We Think We Can Do

My 100th post! YAY! And to mark this special occasion, I will actually plan something out to write, and not just 1/2 ass it! Woo! And since this whole blog is about being a lady, this post will primarily be about being a woman mainly in terms of society, but there is some jiu jitsu thrown in there: here we go!

There is a certain stigma that women can only do so much: that since we are smaller we are weaker, more fragile, and not having much “muchness”, to quote Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter. There are those, men and women who both root for the women’s movement, but still have the idea that women really cannot do all the same things that men can do, or at least be in close comparison. Some think this unconsciously, while there are others that believe  this crazy idea and while not saying it outright, act out such thoughts through their words, choices and actions. And they should be endowed with a big old mushroom print.

For anyone that knows me, I am not some half-crazed feminist that is standing over my computer with The Feminine Mystique in one hand and bra ready to burn in the other. I’m a girl. I like to feel good in our out-about-town clothes, put up my hair in some kind of fashionable way, and have been known to slap on a little lipstick now and again. My main beef with these people is that in a subversive way they are telling girls what they cannot do eventually becomes so ingrained in their souls that they start to believe this shit and end up limiting themselves, more often than not subconsciously and out of habit more than anything else.

Again, these things are never said outright by those around us, and luckily we have gotten to a point in our society that we are now telling girls they can be anything they want intellectually. Physically..we need to seriously work on this image. There is a sick sense of what a woman is supposed to look like in the media today, and how they are supposed to maintain a healthy weight. Not only that, there is a set of limitations that we set upon ourselves, for no other fact that we are women.  Obstacles were meant to be overcome, and that’s what makes us the people we are today.

How about this: start telling women they can do shit. Sure, we may not be able to do some of those physical activities just as well as some men, but we’ll do them a hell of a lot better than others.

Take jiu jitsu, for example. Women in jiu jitsu are known for having a very technical, tight, fast, beautiful game on the mat. It’s not the same game as a 250 lb., 6’4″ man who also steps on the mat, but they both have their good qualities, just not in the same areas. We may not be able to pull off a fireman’s carry, but the sweeps and execution of techniques that women are able to do have a level of speed and grace that a larger man would never be able to pull off.

I guess I am writing about this for a couple of different reasons: I hate when fellow women think they can’t do things when really they can. I used to be one of those girls. I was mired in self-doubt and lack of confidence, and through jiu jitsu and being around the supportive network of friends and teammates I have over the past year or so begun the process of stripping away the things I believed I could not accomplish.

…Like, you know…writing about stuff….on the big ole’ World Wide Web.

I think we could take over the world if we could just get past what we think we can do, and do something we thought never possible.

And if you ready all the way through this post, well congratulations! You get a cookie!

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The Nuances of an Expert

So I had mentioned before my lame excuse for no posting that Max and I did some drilling of some moves that he had seen on Monday. Wednesday I came armed with questions and ready to get down and dirty with these techniques (that sounds mildly inappropriate, by whatever)

Going through these moves with someone at the same level versus against someone of a such a higher caliber of jiu jitsu player is kind of fun to compare, I have to say. There were pieces to certain techniques that I would question and Max would look at me, shrug his shoulders and say “I don’t know sweetie, this just what [our instructor] taught us,” or told us what to do, whichever came to mind first , since, you know,  I tend to ask a lot of questions especially when it’s just Max and I going over things we learned in class.

When going through class with our instructor though, there were little moves and nuances that answered my questions before they were asked, and I received more than satisfactory answers when I asked them, making me feel like there was some real progress and learnin’…stuff….going on.

Personally it further affirms my belief that there is really nothing that can compare to live class. There are a plethora of materials out there: photos, blogs, books, videos, you name it, someone has that shit covered, but nothing really compares to having a real, living breathing human being in front of you, hopefully with more experience than you. In defense of those materials, sure, something is better than nothing and it puts you in the mindset to learn and to look for certain positions and so on, but we all have to admit there was that one time where we were doing something TOTALLY wrong and it wasn’t until someone pointed out the error of our ways and directed us down the right path that we did anything to improve that part of our game.

How can you fix something on your own that you don’t even realize is broken?

So, as I mentioned before also, I am down at the beach, so if you don’t read anything from me until Monday, don’t hold it against me 😉

See you all on the flip side!

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Vacation, homies!

Sorry for getting your hopes up, but I’m on my way to spend some time with my family- we just happen to like our quality time on a boat, in the middle of a bay: woo!

As I mentioned previously I try to write my posts at lunch time, and for anyone that was horribly deceived as I did not deliver this fine Thursday, again I apologize and will think of you all fondly as I enjoy the sun and surf 🙂

I do have a post idea in mind which I will probably put together this evening and shoot off tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, any ladies headed to the jiu jitsu national open in Carson next month? There are a couple of tournaments that are coming up in October that I have my eye on, but this one kind of threw me for a loop.

What about you?

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Training with the Boyfriend, Part 2

One amusing bit  I totally forgot about the whole “training with the boyfriend” thing is that we typically bicker when we get on the mat.

Remember when I said that it definitely was not like being taught by the instructor? You also don’t argue with your instructor when he is trying to show you something just because you don’t think one part of the sequence makes sense, and you think he may be doing it wrong.

Training and drilling moves with a loved one definitely shows the need for order and hierarchy when training…Or at least one of you shutting the f*ck up when going over a move.

I was the one this time that needed to shut their trap, but there have been plenty of times before when I have told Max to zip it.  Especially in the morning. Before my coffee.

What? He deserved it.

Tonight is actual class night, so we will be going over what Max and I drilled last night, and I will be able to see what was similar and what was different. Not that I’m going to rub it in Max’s face or anything. Probably….Likely….

Or maybe I will, who knows. Depends on how off we were when drilling last night.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about something more interesting, I promise.

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Nothing really to write about today

Last night was class, but I wasn’t feeling so well so Max went to class and I took the night off. One of the good things about dating someone that trains at the same gym is that if one of you misses, the other can still go to class and then both can review later.

Which is exactly what we are doing later today.

Granted, this being said, you of course will never get the amount of detail that your instructor will show in the class itself, but this is an adequate substitution until whatever technique is shown again.

I guess I should also mention at this point that this is not a recommendation to go out and attach yourself to the closest guy you can find that trains with you. The relationship with Max and I is based on a lot of things: our mutual interest in jiu jitsu just happened to be a bonus.

There’s always a fine line to walk if you do date someone in your academy, and I would suggest treating it as you would dating someone at work. However you treat dating someone at work, because after you two break up, there is a good chance that both of you will still train at the same academy, I would think. It is certainly tempting though, someone that shares the same interest as you, is most likely at the gym or academy the same time, understands why you aren’t home until late and where all those bruises came from.

But as I stated, it’s something to be cautious of, just like you would at work.

Anyway, enough with the meandering thoughts, Catch you all on the flip side!

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I Came, I Saw, I…Kept Score.

So it turned out that I ended up being a score keeper for the tournament our academy held on Saturday, which let me tell you is just a little more nerve-wracking than competing itself. This was the first time I ever worked as a score keeper, which is what really lead to the nervousness. I don’t really know what other people do, but when competing I tend to just plan my game, really attempt sweeps and pray that I either get enough points or to get a choke in before the time runs out.

I have never wished for so many people to be submitted in my life.

The beginning was a little rough, but the ref that I was keeping score for and I eventually smoothed things out and everyone got their fair points and such.

All in all it actually ran pretty smoothly, and we actually got through all the divisions in a fairly timely manner. Lots of people had a chance to fight bunches, and a lot of our white belts showed up and competed for the first time.

I’m so proud of them! 🙂

Your first tournament is always your hardest, and I’m so happy they took that important first step. It gives me hope for our academy to continue to have a large, healthy, supportive team.

I’m not sure that last sentence made sense, but you get what I mean.

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My Game Plan…Um…

A teammate posted what his game plan for tomorrow’s in-house tournament will be: I’m still worried about finding a ride over to the venue.

It’s not that I’m taking this lightly (ok, maybe just a little bit) but I am just going to try to do the best that I can, and hope everything will work out. ::shrug:: if I win, I will drink to victory, if I lose, I will drown my sorrows.  Both will involve alcohol. Most probably.

As I have stated before, I’m not really working on anything, I don’t have any set game plan, I’m just going to go out there and do my thing. If I can get into a sweet position that we have been covering in class, amazing; if not, well, not the end of the world and I will not act as such. In-houses are about doing what you have been learning and spending some time with teammates. It’s time to see what you have developed in and what still needs some refinement.

Now saying all this I’m sure I will be a nervous wreck no matter what anyone says tomorrow morning. I will probably post results on Twitter and then here later in the evening.

Wish me luck!

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Early Morning Training…Boooo

You know, there is a plethora of studies to answer the age-old question: how some people can wake up a the ass-crack of dawn, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and all sorts of other hyphenated descriptions, while others prefer to stay up late and slowly crawl out of bed, or rather have to be peeled out of the covers, grumpy and ready to commit homicide if their coffee isn’t ready to be delivered intravenously.

Max seems to be one of the former, while I am one of the latter. He asked me to practice some moves with him this morning, since due to work obligations he has been unable to really get to the gym, and of course as the super-awesome-hero of a girlfriend that I am, I agreed to do it.

And every time I agree to do this there is a part of me that totally regrets it. Not that I don’t like getting better and practicing moves. It’s the whole getting up early thing. And the fact that I have to be somewhat conscious during these sessions so I don’t fall asleep in the closed guard. There is some primordial part of my brain however that says “NOOOOO! Too early! Me Sleep! Pillows Comfy!….Cookie?”

Yes I firmly believe this is also where my preference for sugar and baked goods comes from.

But still, I get up, and I do what I promised and I practice with Max: because what good is a person other than their word?

Saulo mentioned that once in a seminar he held in our gym,

“A Man is only as good as his word and his belt.”

So I am staying true to my word, and I practice with Max so we can improve our belts.

Oss.

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No post for you!

Sorry guys, I usually write during my lunch break, but I’m in the middle of a class for work: look out for a post tomorrow! I hope!

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Promises of Alcohol on the Mat: Yeah, I’m a Great Role Model

So, last night was a good night for technique: we did a kind of de la Riva on the arm thing and swept the opponent, pulled them into an omoplata, or rolled into one if we couldn’t pull the arm. I would make an honest attempt to look for a Youtube video or photo to describe what I am talking about, but this is something that you need close supervision for, not something you pull your friend over for and then suddenly someone has a broken wrist and is out of commission for the next 2 months or so.

During training I had a match with a nice white belt lady who comes to class now and again, but I think trains a lot with her husband at the gym they own in Jersey. Anyway, during the session, she mentioned that it seemed nearly impossible to pass my open guard no matter what she did. In response I promised her that the day she was able to pass my guard I would buy her a beer. And oh trust me, I totally will. Unless she has a thing where she can’t drink (I’m finding more and more people who have that kind of thing going on).

I promised this because someday I know it will happen, because she is really working to get better at the sport. She pays attention to the technique, and really works to practice what we are learning. The only criticism I really have is that I wish she would come to class more, but we’re grown-ups: as much as we work to clear our schedule, there’s a tendency for life to go, “This shit needs to be dealt with: NOW.”

It’s also always hard at first to train, especially people that are a higher rank than you: they know more, and already you’re keyed up and sometimes you give something to the person  that you don’t even realize you were doing, and then you curse yourself, forgetting it’s, you know, a part of the process of progressing in jiu jitsu.

Anyway, I look forward to the day when I can put that glass of beer in front of her, smile and congratulate her on her progress. Because that day is coming-it may take a little longer at the rate she is coming to class, but jiu jitsu is the ultimate exercise of patience and we will encourage her, and as her teammates we will celebrate her progress. Because that’s what teammates do.

So there. 😉

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