Blood, sweat, and a tear.

Blood, sweat, and a tear.
The bottom hoops were removed, btw.

The gold hoops failed me.

Remember these bad boys (or should I call them good girls?) that I swapped in for my diamond studs, thinking they’d be “safer” for my first Jiu Jitsu class?

They were not.

In the first class, the backs did indeed get shoved against my head–not really a big deal. Second class, same thing, which elicited a weak “Ow,” from me. Still not a deal breaker.

But in the third class, during a guillotine head lock, I said, “Stop!”

[Brief sidebar: You don’t say “stop” in Jiu Jitsu. You tap, usually your partner, or, as I found out when putting my instructor in a choke hold, you can also tap yourself. “It’s a good thing I heard you,” I said after releasing him. Fortunately, slapping a rash guard is loud. Since I wear a gi, I’ll be sure to always tap my partner before I pass out, to be safe.]

Now let me back up.

On my second class, there were three male students, as in the first, but three entirely new men. “This is going to make it tougher for me to win them all over,” I thought. “I still want that drink.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

One guy announced that he had just turned twenty-eight, was boisterous and talking jovially and familiarly with the other men. He readily introduced himself and shook my hand, which struck me as weird, since this seemed to be a strictly fist bump establishment. This guy was so 2019!

The second guy was maybe thirty and paid me no attention.

I kept a sharp eye on the door for Surfer Dude, but no luck. Instead I was partnered with the third man, “Lopez.” Saying he was merely twice my size would be flattering to him. I may have gulped a little when Lopez faced me.

I need not have feared. Lopez had a patient, teacher’s heart and was kind and accommodating with my knowledge limitations. Toward the end, I made a point to look him in the eye and thank him by name.

When I arrived at my third class, I was the only student, but was actually jazzed by that prospect. One-on-one personal attention! The door stayed open, and the studio front is all glass. Each time movement outside caught my eye, it was an old woman passing. I haven’t checked out the other businesses in the strip, but I’m guessing a hair salon is one of them. I idly wondered what would cross the woman’s mind should she glance inside.

But before too long, another student arrived, the man from the second class who pretended I wasn’t there.


We did as instructed, administering the guillotine a couple of times back and forth. On the third choke is when I called a halt.

I felt a tear.

When the man released me, and I touched my ear, my fingertips were smeared with blood. I’m grateful there was only one other student–fewer people to be annoyed by class being stopped by this girl and her impractical jewelry.

I apologized. Indifferent Man said, “It’s okay. My daughter just got her ears pierced.”

“I hope I didn’t get blood on your shiny new gi.”

“Nah,” it’s fine.

The instructor grabbed me some paper towel from the bathroom and asked if it was okay to continue. I watched from the side, holding my ear, grateful the earring was still in place.

When the bleeding stopped, I threw the paper towel to the side and got back in it. I did remember to pick it up before I left. I wonder if the instructor was nervous that I was littering bloody paper in his studio.

If you’re not keen on the sight of blood, cover the screen as you scroll. The back side of my ear looked pretty gnarly too.

I figure I’ll chalk the incident up as a fluke for now, but if it happens again, I’ll need to come up with something different to wear or risk removing them entirely for an hour and hope the holes don’t close.

[Another sidebar: This is also gross, but to help you with the cast of characters moving forward… Indifferent Man could also be called Sweaty Man. He wore that new white gi proudly, and I so wish he had simply worn a t-shirt. Instructor had offered me a gi top, but I declined. Those shirts are HEAVY. Thick and hot. No thanks. But Sweaty Man’s face was literally dripping, and his hair was leaving wet spots all over the mat. So gross. Worse was my shirt sleeve soaking it up from his head whenever I’d trap it next to me in the move innocently called “Punch Box 1.”]

Instructor was feeling generous after class and let me join in Reflex Development. He did this with the three guys in the previous class, but I was welcome to leave at that point. (I stayed and watched a bit anyway.) Today I was a part of it! This meant he put the gloves on.

Literally. Blue boxing gloves. Then he put us through the paces in a less controlled, quicker manner. He tried to punch me. I defended.

It was awesome.

Until I punched myself.

I wasn’t defending my face properly, in that, I didn’t have my palms right up against my face, so when he (weakly. It was still practice, after all) punched the back of my hand, I smacked myself in the eye.

I didn’t react and it didn’t hurt much, but I did sort of hope I’d get a bruise or, better yet, a black eye because it would make for an awesome story. No such “luck.”

So there you go. Three classes down. How many more to go, I have no idea. But I’m still having fun.

Any suggestions for an earring solution? Still think I’m crazy for doing this? Think I’m crazy for something entirely unrelated? Do share in the comments below.

A note to my BBBs (Beloved Blog Buddies), I know I’m woefully behind in reading your blogs. Thank you for still reading this despite that. I hope to get back to you all soon!

81 responses »

  1. Love your stories, Betsy. I think maybe getting sweat on someone else’s gi is (or should be) more of a faux pas than any possible blood?

    You are tough – I love the names of all the moves! Maybe hoops that go full circle and don’t have a back?

    I’m wondering as I write this – should I be wishing for you that you’ll get a black eye or not? ๐Ÿ™‚ It would make a great story but perhaps not so good for the Christmas morning photos…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have no idea how painful a black eye is. I’m also the girl who wants to experience new things to the point of once saying, “I wish I could get arrested.” I mean… At a certain point, I need to dial it back, right? So maybe a black eye isn’t something to wish for. (Being arrested certainly isn’t!) And, yes, excellent point about Christmas morning photos! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Wynne!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Umm, so you know I was freaked out about this happening in your last post, right??? I donโ€™t do blood and Iโ€™m not a big fan of sweat, either. Can holes really close up in an hour? I did not know that, needle phobe that I am.

    I vote to take up yoga instead! Ohmmmmm

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, Bijoux! Thanks for persisting anyway! The holes probably won’t close us in an hour. It’s not just that as the flippin’ pain in the butt it is to get these suckers back in after I take them out. I need my Hubby’s help most of the time, spotting me on the other side of my ear saying, “Up a little, no, down and to the left.” At least in one troublesome hole, and now that I think about it–it’s this very hole. Terrific. I’ll need to let it heal before I mess with it.

      I totally intend to look into yoga. Not fully committed to Jiu Jitsu yet.


  3. I’ve had many black eyes and can say that you don’t want one. I’m no earring expert, but I would think pulling them out for an hour couldn’t hurt. (Unless it is a pain to get them back in.) Enjoyed the post, Betsy, and don’t worry about not visiting mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They ARE kind of a pain to get back in. The momentary pain of when they get pressed into my head is still worth leaving them in. The tearing out part, however, not so much.

      Why many black eyes, John? And is it super painful? Honestly curious what it must feel like. Not to the point of intentionally picking a fight with someone, though.

      And thanks for the low pressure on blog reading. Appreciate it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have no idea why so many black eyes. If there is a fist sticking out I run into it. Doors are like magnets. Elbows on planes have me in their sights. The one time I went through a car windshield I knew how that one happened but the rest? Wrong time wrong place.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yiiiiiikes! Windshield?! Ooosh! Car accident, I assume, rather than being thrown through it?! Glad to know you weren’t mercilessly bullied as a child, but still. Eek. You poor man.


    • Yep, I’ll figure it out. I first need to figure out whether or not to continue Jiu Jitsu. Someone else suggested yoga. Maybe I should give that a try. Today I got the back of my head banged against the mat by another student. Mats are not so squishy as they seem! That wasn’t fun. And now I can feel that the inside of my lip might be cut a little. What am I doing to myself, Jacqui?! Of course, if all this saves my life one day, a little bang and a little cut are nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You know they have those plastic mouth guards – maybe you could get some molded ear guards. Likely you have to get them custom made. You’d just snap them over your ears before starting.

    When I had braces (a million years ago) they’d give use these little containers of bee’s wax to protect our mouth’s during PE class. Maybe you could mold some wax over your ears …

    I’ll get working on other solutions right away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, Andrew, you could actually (surprisingly, considering it’s you. JK! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) be on to something. (Or ON something. Sorry! I can’t seem to stop!) I could wear a knit hat and pull it down over my ears. If I can keep it on, that could work…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Uh, no other females for class? Could you recruit a few? Now I know why it’s uncurtained windows, so passerbys can see what’s going on. Hey, put up flyers in the hair salon! And good for you for self defense. And yeah, lose the earrings. Facing a bad guy in a dark alley and yelling “Ow!” may not scare him.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My opinion? Just take the darn earrings off and go kick some ass. Don’t let girly stuff get in the way of becoming a warrior. Your holes won’t close for that sort period of time (Not that I know anything).

    Your story about Sweaty Man reminded me of when I used to take dance lessons. We had to change partners regularly and sometimes I ended up with a sweaty dude. Gross. All of us women knew who to avoid if at all possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ripping and earlobe. Oooh. Can you hear me wince from there?

      Higher than a black belt probably means 2nd or 3rd degree (etc.) black belt. I wish I had started this when I was young. My youngest daughter in Taekwondo is at a distinct advantage over her big sisters. She’ll have more time at home, going to class free of charge, unlike, say, her 16-year-old sister. Two more years and that one’s on her own! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, Betsy – you are one tough mama! Are those piercings new and is that why you can’t remove the earrings entirely? (side story: I remember playing field hockey and we were not allowed to wear earrings.) All I can say is I want you in that dark alley with me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The earrings are a pain in more ways than one to get in and out. I don’t really know how quickly they close. My general impression is: more quickly than normal piercings. They probably won’t close, but I’m more inclined to take the occasional brief pain than the trouble of taking them out and then putting them in again. On the other hand, if one tears out entirely, that would not have been worth it. Still betting on that incident having been a fluke. If it happens a second time, out they go!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Regarding bruises and black eyes….I was ALWAYS bummed when I did not get those from a good sparring practice or grappling!

    Regarding earrings….I used to dread it when my students would wear them. I also dreaded it when my coworkers would wear them (because we went into unprotected environments and I saw them as potential ‘weapons’ to be used against them if someone were to grab them and rip them out). I know nothing about earrings…so I can’t even venture a guess about them closing if you take them out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruises are a badge of honor, right? Of course you get it! Yeah, the silly earrings are a liability, aren’t they? I keep just hoping they’ll continue to be fine, for the most part, because getting them in and out is such a pain. The one that is currently damaged is at the most risk of scarring over if removed. Kind of incongruous to have piercings and do martial arts, huh? Well, maybe not. I like them, and I think they look cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person


        Earrings….I know people love them. It’s a personal choice right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just an fyi….it also drove me nuts when students with long hair came to class and didn’t have it tied up in some way. All I would think is (and I would discuss this) it is something that an attacker could easily use against them. Oh PIF, don’t get me going! ๐Ÿ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • That also makes sense. I’m going to need to figure out a bun-type situation for my hair. My ponytail occasionally gets caught, and I’m like, “Pause. Lemme just pull this out… Okay, continue!” There are no “pauses” in street fights, however.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Precisely. There’s a Women Empowerment (Empowered?) class that isn’t at my studio, but I could buy DVDs of it. I know one of the things you learn is what to do if they get a hold of your ponytail. I may, at some point, invest in those. The expense of my little martial arts hobby is adding up, however, so I’m hesitant.


      • I was in Martial Arts for 20 years. It is best I not look into how much I spent…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Look on Youtube for information as well. A lot of masters/schools post free lessons. It is always great to have real life lessons. But we can’t afford everything. And masters/schools put information out there to help you stay safe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have seen a couple of videos online, which were helpful. Sometimes my hubby lets me practice on him, but it’s not the same as in the class, where the other person knows what to do also. Me trying to tell Hubby what he needs to do as “Bad Guy” is like the blind leading the blind. I look forward to having done this for a long time and knowing a lot more! That will be fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Ow, Betsy. Jiu Jitsu is supposed to be a defensive course not offensive to the student doing the defending. When they apprehend your husband thinking he is a DV abuser with your black eye and bloody ear, saying you punched yourself and wore earrings to a Jiu Jitsu class may not be believable. But, officer… Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You’re crazy for too many reasons to name. But it makes for a good read. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And, “guillotine head lock”?! That’s beyond hardcore. There’s a reason for that name, I’m sure. I think I’ll pass on finding out firsthand what that is.

    Once, in 10th grade P.E., I was partnered up with a dude twice my size for wrestling. No idea why, but our whole “skirmish” was over in three seconds. NOT FAIR.

    I faked an illness the next day so I wouldn’t have to take him on. True story.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m so glad that you’re having fun and you have recounted the anecdote pretty vividly but I’ll request you to take off these balis/earrings. They can get stuck easily in clothing while doing an activity and can be quite painful.

    Wear them when you’re socialising.

    Personal experience – I took them off my daughter’s ears because she was having problem adjusting them with the swim cap. Likewise, when she shoe goes for trekking etc.

    Hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ouch! I’d highly recommend, encourage and repeat like a broken record: remove all jewelry. I’m glad it didn’t happen during a live roll, could’ve been much worse. I’m surprised the instructor didn’t catch the earrings.

    Keep it up! Jiu-jitsu is as rewarding as it is challenging, whether Gi or No Gi. Insert fistbump here.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. Finally, trying to catch up. Okay, “hard stop” on the “instructor and one other guy are smaller than you” (response to Flojo). Kinda brings home the “size doesn’t matter” thing, because I’m pretty sure you’d need to load your pockets with rocks in any sort of serious wind in order to avoid being “swept off your feet”. As for the earrings, pretty sure it would take more than an hour for them to close. It took months of not wearing earrings for my holes to start to close (then I went back to wearing studs). I wonder if they have any sort of earrings that are smooth at the clasp, where there isn’t any pokey parts, where the clasp is more streamlined.

    Kudos to you, though, for embarking on your ju jitusu adventure and sharing it with us! I always wanted to do more martial arts after karate in 6th grade, but these days I’d be more inclined to do Tai Chi. Unfortunately, all the Tai Chi studios are in the Cities. I think about online classes, though. Now to get my daughter to either put her stuff into storage or move out so I have room to do Tai Chi ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was definitely being a baby about the earrings but have since grown up. After the one got injured, I thought there was a good chance it would heal shut. I kept an earring in it and put a bandaid over it for one more class until it was fully healed, earring in, before I removed that one for class too.

      Sorry your daughter is having a tough time leaving the nest. You do realize there’s a cat there, right? If you ever invited me over, I would be the embodiment of overstaying my welcome. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

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