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* 🙂