The Seventh Month in Jiu-Jitsu

(2022-02-02 08:48:27) 下一個

Jan 2022 was eventful. The day after I received my first stripe, coach Gene was

tested positive for Omicron. (He suffered nothing and returned after two weeks

of, as he put it, boring Covid vacation.) I did not get the bug in spite of

hugging and shaking hands with him that night or maybe I just had no symptom.

The school was closed for three days and Eric took over. 


At 50 and a picture of health, the head coach looked glowing. One of master Jean

Jacques's best students, the Filipino had reached the level where he created

moves on the fly. I liked his teachings as he was about my size, which made them

instantly applicable. Showing up for almost every class, I naturally caught his

attention. "You come everyday!" he would flash his perfect teeth and slap hands,

to which I replied "I'm getting old. No time to waste!" He taught when rolling

with me and told me not to fret about not being able to execute a new move as

"We are only planting seeds. In a few months, you will discover that suddenly

you can do it." His sincerity and conviction were infectious.


Next, Chris, who had started and trained for 10 years in this very gym, was

awarded the blackbelt. About my height but five lbs lighter, he partnered with

me often, never used excessive force, and taught me a lot over time. Among the

nicest guys in the gym, he inspired and set an example for us beginners. I was

genuinely happy for him.


The third Sat, I rolled with a purplebelt lady and she caught my left foot. I

defended but got caught again. She squeezed, I tapped a bit late, and felt the

sprain. I skipped squat and running on Sunday and it took a whole week for me to

be able to sit in half lotus again with that foot on top. These things happen.

But in general, the gym's rule was that a higher-level guy should take care of a

less experienced partner. Where there was an injury, the former was to blame.


This month, I felt even more comfortable at the bottom because I started to turn

to face my opponents more to put up a frame, e.g., with an arm and a knee, for

both defense and offense. In addition, the idea of staying small at the bottom

started to make great sense. Underneath, I could easily ball up, scoot around,

find space, and get on my knees to attack. But once in the "turtle" position,

often my head got caught and my opponent would start choking me from the front

or back. I desparately needed to improve in that area. In general, my partner

often got a good cardio workout as I moved nonstop.


I have become used to being submitted, by higher level guys or by fellow

whitebelts. At the same time, I couldn't help noticing that everyone I could

dominate had disappeared. A long list of fresh whitebelts, including James,

Enuk, Nikolai, Iyuresh, George, Alex and his brother, etc., joined around the

same time as or slightly later than I did, but I don't see them any more. I am

again at the bottom of the totem pole!


Only two or three whitebelts show up in class these days. It is a problem with

many competitive jiu-jitsu schools where only the strong, the big, and the

athletic guys are less likely to be derailed by tough training and they get to

stay and progress. The small and the weak for whom the art was created have a

hard time for a couple of months and leave. The first two months were the worst

for me. Toughing it out and coming on the mat each day were the right choice.

But being able to make that choice was thanks to years of physical exercise,

Henry's videos, and Tim. My regular training partner is 20lbs heavier, five years

younger, and a wrestler in highschool. With these opponents, my ego has to go.

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閱讀 ()評論 (3)
7grizzly 回複 悄悄話 Nikolai showed up in good shape! I learnt his son, Igor, was in the kids class, and that explained it ;-)
7grizzly 回複 悄悄話 回複 '暖冬cool夏' 的評論 : Thank you, 暖冬, for reading and your thoughts.

Yes. I realized that, though unintentionally, I had prepared for years before
taking on jiu-jitsu. So in general I'd encourage people to try it but certainly
understand that everyone is different.

There are academies different in style, though, e.g., those at Gracie University
(in Torrence) and affiliated places world wide. A few years ago, I commuted to
Santa Cruz to train at such a school. They are much more geared toward
self-defense and I loved their drills, nothing like my current place. Many people
had great experience with them. Check them out if you want.

暖冬cool夏 回複 悄悄話 But being able to make that choice was thanks to years of physical exercise
+1. True. I won't venture into this myself at this age. I know you told me of a 60-year-old lady:) If injured, it will be hard to recover.
Glad you did not get infected. My big boss, vaccinated, was contracted and had a scary experience (her words-- Covid is no joke). Each person is different. So it wouldn't hurt to be watchful, my friend. Happy Tiger Year!