Dragon's Tale

Just another female BJJ enthusiast

Archive for the month “September, 2011”

Just a girl in a man’s (BJJ) world

So yesterday, I was reading a post written by Allie the Clear Belt that featured a video of an interview with Kyra Gracie. It was very inspirational (both the video and the post). Allie asked the women who do jiu-jitsu, “What has been the hardest part for you practicing Jiu-Jitsu? What advantages have you noticed, as a woman training in this sport?” I read Allie’s response and it really resonated with me. But I think the most difficult aspect for me is not the desire to prove myself but rather the feeling that I HAVE to prove myself to someone. I would say that this is a new thing for me but, unfortunately, I think this is rather a pattern in my life. In some ways I think it can be healthy because I know I work hard due to this need to prove myself. On the other hand, this is what causes me to psych myself out.

This need to prove myself has probably played a pivotal role in my losses and my inability to just flow when rolling in class. I understand that I was still relatively new to this sport when I competed the first time but I think that I set far to high expectations for myself. I think in some small part of my mind I thought I HAD to win my matches to show others that I can really do this…that I am not wasting my time with training. I’m not sure why my own validation and growth in this sport isn’t enough. Like Allie, I guess it is just my own insecurities that I am trying to overcome. I’ve even noticed that I roll differently with different people. With my husband, I tend to be more comfortable (much of the time). I guess this is because I don’t feel (all the time) like he is critiquing me and so I can be a bit more aggressive. But with other guys, I often feel self-conscious and maybe even a bit timid. Funny how even though I need to prove myself, I struggle to actually face them head-on. What a way to defeat myself before I even start! With girls in the gym (though it has been a while) I tend to feel frustration at my lack of ability to “beat” them because I “must!” It’s all pretty ridiculous, I realize…

The wonderful thing about Pinnacle-MMA is that the people there are supportive and encouraging. I can’t think of a single person who has been discouraging of me and my training or anything like that. They always seem eager to help me improve. So my need to prove myself is really about me and no one else. Sometimes I think my insecurities can seem rather grandiose and narcissistic. I am in no way special enough that others really care whether I suck or not. Scratch that…it’s not that they don’t care but rather that others really aren’t focused on me and my skills. This description is not all that different than that of adolescent egocentrism. Wow…do I sound completely crazy yet? 🙂 I say all this to say that I don’t actually think that people are “watching” me or that I am the center of the universe but that I am just an insecure girl in a man’s (BJJ) world.

As for advantages, I do think at times others underestimate me. A new guy at the gym asked my husband last night if I ever “really” beat him. But is this really underestimating me or simply taking note of size and skill? Not sure. I have noticed that if I get a really good…and I mean REALLY good position on someone, it can be tough for them to unhinge me. I have especially noticed this with the Ezekiel choke from mount, a rear naked choke and/or a triangle. The trouble is that I have to find a way to get myself in these awesome positions…easier said than done. 😦 I wonder, to those of you who read my blog (male or female)…how might you answer these questions posed by Allie the Clear Belt?

As for training last night, we started class on our feet working take downs. We then worked in pairs, rotating, to work take downs but more flowing than really taking down. Take downs…yet another ongoing struggle. Then we white belts worked on armbars from guard and triangles. I got to roll with my husband twice, a brown belt and my coach. As I rolled with my coach, I got total tunnel vision with an omoplata and totally missed an easy triangle…it took a while for me to notice then execute. My insecurities and anxiety went up, of course, when I was rolling with my husband and my coach was watching. I new he was watching because he would give me directions from time to time…this seems to make me more flustered (somehow) than I already was. Cue rolling eyes.

I finally bit the bullet today! My husband and I set up a good workout schedule to incorporate strength training, conditioning, BJJ class, and rolling some at home. We also discussed healthy eating habits and decided on how I might do that. It’s not that I’m trying to lose a bunch of weight but I’ve definitely noticed a decrease in my metabolism (look out for 25 ladies…) and so I need to kind of lose some of the softer parts of me. Or rather tone up those softer areas. Let’s hope all this change helps (and that I can survive…) *haha* 🙂

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Well, so much for that!

Last Thursday I went to BJJ class. We started class again on our feet working take downs. Then we did some live take downs. I am by no means actually taking down anyone in the gym but I do think I am getting a little braver and improving just the slightest! 🙂 It’s still extremely anxiety provoking but I am learning to just move past it a little. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to cut my fingernails back and stabbed one of the guys right on the lip and cut it…oops! Sorry!

Then we moved on to our drills. Our coach noticed that some of our basic skills were lacking precise technique and so we drilled armbar from guard and triangle from guard. It is nice to go back to basics and really refine the move. Then we did some specific training where one person was in someone’s guard and had to pass and the other was trying to sweep or submit. This type of rolling is helpful because it helps me to focus and be less all over the place.

I got to roll with several different people that night and really enjoyed it. I like rolling with colored belts because I usually receive helpful hints. At one point, the guy who’s lip I busted was doing move to try and flip me. I didn’t realize what he was doing and resisted thus causing me to tweak my neck a bit. He told me it was payback for his lip…oops! 🙂 My neck is fine, though. I rolled with another guy and while I do appreciate helpful hints from time to time, I don’t need a play by play. I don’t say this to mean that I’m perfect and get things right every time…that is SO not true! But I do think I know basics and the condescending step-by-step instruction is unnecessary. I don’t think he means to be condescending but that’s just how it seems to me.

Well, that night I realized something… 😦 I have known the date of the NAGA tournament for some time but for some reason it did not click with me that it is the same weekend as my husband’s cousin’s wedding…in Minnesota! 😦 I am so bummed that I am not competing in NAGA Nashville. I was starting to feel better about competing and then, NOPE! On the other hand…it has to be said that I am a little bit relieved because I was still extremely nervous and scared to be competing against some of the women I saw at NAGA Atlanta. My plan is to continue training as though I am competing and just trying to improve my techniques…and maybe even improve my take downs!!

Tuesday night was BJJ class again. We started class with take downs…this is becoming a ritual apparently. I started out working on them but my ankle had been pretty sore and I had to sit out. Then we drilled armbars from guard. I was really trying to focus on being precise and technical. We then did some more specific training. I rolled with one of the purple belts at the gym and was getting frustrated because I was not getting anywhere. After my roll, my husband told me I needed to lead with my hips more rather than the top half of my body and to stand more when trying to pass someone’s guard. These tips really helped and I felt better about my next couple of rolls.

So much for NAGA Nashville but I’m sure there will be another tournament coming up. But for now, I am just trying to work hard in the gym and improve my game!

Be aggressive! Be, be aggressive!

So it was back to the gym last Tuesday night for BJJ class. We started class working on some take downs…my least favorite!! 😦 I just cannot seem to get past my anxiety about take downs and I don’t know why. I think a part of me is afraid of getting hurt myself and another part of me is afraid I might hurt the other person. I am very tentative when working on take downs and I know I might improve if I just gave myself over to it but it’s just so difficult. We then worked on mount escape. Working on these foundational techniques have helped to remind me to move my hips more. Then I rolled with my husband and a couple of other guys from the gym.

I was back in BJJ class on Thursday night. My coach started teaching a new technique this night. We started class working on take downs again. I was still very nervous but did a little better. Then we worked on a couple of different chokes. I admit, I am a little choke biased. I am not sure exactly why that is but I definitely like submitting by choke. I was rolling with one of the guys and he had me in side control and I was attempting to escape. My coach stopped us and told me that while what I was working on was decent he thought another move might be better. So he showed me how to get my butterfly hooks in from where we were. I haven’t really worked much with the butterfly guard so this was brand new. I definitely plan on working on this more. 🙂

Last night was yet another night in the gym. We started class by working take downs again…my favorite! 🙂 After drilling it some we did some live take downs with the guys in class. I was very nervous and thought for sure I was going to get smashed…I didn’t. It really wasn’t too bad and I did my best to fight hard against getting taken down but, of course, I did. Doing this will probably really help me work on take downs and take down defense and help with the upcoming tournament but I really do hate admitting that. I rolled with my husband, another white belt and a purple belt…and got schooled, as usual! 🙂

I definitely feel like my confidence has decreased recently and I think it’s noticeable. I’m not sure why other than losing my first tournament and that no-gi match but those have been a while. I’m not sure why it’s just now affecting my game. My husband told me he noticed that maybe I’m not as aggressive as I was when I was preparing for my other two matches. I have to agree. I just don’t know how to get it back. The other thing he and I noticed is that I am having trouble reacting to things. I think I get tunnel vision and only see what it is I am trying to do and don’t see what my opponent is doing…not good. Not sure why I am doing this but it has to stop! Anyway…it’s back to the gym again tomorrow night.

I am so incredibly nervous for the NAGA tournament. I can’t seem to get a handle on my nerves right now. I am so scared of doing horribly or just losing AGAIN! I know that losing only helps improve your game but I just really want to be able to show something for all this work and sweat. Maybe I’m asking for too much and just need to do work. I’m just so intimidated by what I saw when I was at NAGA Atlanta. Those girls do not look like girls I want to mess with… 😦 Only about 2 months left…better get on it! I just have to keep reminding myself…Be aggressive! Be, be aggressive! 😉

Oh the craziness of life…

Just when I thought I was getting back in the swing of things, life happens. Sorry for the significant delay! Right after my last post my sweet little grandmother went into the hospital and passed away a few short weeks later. Thus to say, I have not been in the gym much recently. Things at work have also been hectic and chaotic to say the least. But I finally made it back this past Saturday.

My coach has been trying a new teaching method where he teaches the same technique for two weeks. I think it has been helping because people seem to really learn the technique before moving on to another. On Saturday, we worked on arm triangle from side control and getting to mount from side control. With all the craziness, it was nice to get back into a routine. I have missed my self-care.

Tuesday night I went to BJJ class and we worked some basics. We drilled escaping from mount and I had the opportunity to roll with some different people than usual. I feel a little rusty from having been away for a while again. 😦 Hopefully, I can really get back into a schedule.

Last night I went to BJJ class again. This class was taught by one of the purple belts at the gym because our coach is in Charlotte training with Jeff Jimmo. I had the chance of drilling some more advanced techniques with the colored belts. We drilled a half guard sweep. It was tough…that’s for sure! I noticed I was trying to muscle (haha! Funny, I know) through the technique rather than focusing on technique. It took a while to really get the specifics of the sweep down and it seemed to be easier then. 🙂 We rolled a lot last night and I really enjoyed it.

After class, my husband told me he thinks I’m not being aggressive enough. He told me that while my pressure is good I’m still being rather tentative. I appreciate any and all feedback from others and so I will have to take this into consideration. I want to make sure to take charge of my matches at NAGA Nashville so I will have to work on my aggressiveness. Only about 2 months until then!! AHH!

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