Friday, March 06, 2015

March Snowstorm

Doing Bjj? The cold will not stop you.

This was me yesterday.  After being cooped up all day in the house with all three boys, dealing with a frustrating bit of dojang politics online (I really need to not take this stuff so seriously) I didn't care how much snow was piled on my car, how much snow was blocking my driveway, the fact that my windshield wipers were frozen to my windshield and I had to pry them off with my bare (and still broken) fingers. My first childbirth class of this series was cancelled. 

I was going to BJJ class. 

No drama, no politics, just learning and doing for 2 1/2 hours.  It's physically and mentally challenging, the people are enthusiastic and fun, and other than one of my partners bleeding all over my new gi, it was exactly what I needed.  And the blood washed out.  Today, my body is head-to-toe sore.  I worked hard.

It's interesting to observe myself while free rolling.  

Things I feel good about: I stay very relaxed and keep my breathing under control.  This has not always been the case, but it is my first priority now.  I try not to waste energy and am usually content to relax and think before moving.  I try to move calmly and with purpose.  I focus first on general principles when making a decision.  I try to stay flexible and not get hung up on a particular move or the fact that a particular body part is trapped.  When I see an opportunity for an escape, I go quickly.

On the other hand: I have no idea of what I'm doing.  I don't usually try for submissions. For now, I'm pleased with myself if I don't get submitted.  If I can advance my position, that's fine.  I don't need to win.  I'm just happy if I don't lose. Not losing is a win for now.  I'm looking forward to a time when I feel less clueless, but for now, it's okay.  I'm a new white belt.

People approach martial arts the way they approach life.  My response to a pressure situation on the mat is vastly different than it would have been years ago.  For now, this is more interesting to me than how many techniques I've mastered.  If I can be relaxed under pressure with a bigger person smashing down on me and trying to twist me into a pretzel, and keep my ego in check when I fail to escape and have to tap, I can deal with the pressures of life in a similar manner. The fact that other people with whom I interact get triggered doesn't mean I have to.

Nothing provides a purer physical example of that than when I'm working with an aggressive partner. And nothing gives me a purer way to practice a calm, centered response and an effort to align with my partner and redirect the interaction.

Not saying I'm wildly successful at this by any means, but in BJJ, you win or you learn.

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