All you with gentle sensibilities, please forgive me, but from the rest of you can I get a “Hell, yeah!”?
Seriously, as much as Jiu Jitsu is fun, it is also flippin’ difficult. I enjoy everything except the frustration of not remembering the various steps involved in each move.
Today we learned the elbow sweep. I think. Even the name I’m not sure on. But I’ve found that saying the steps out loud as I perform them helps. Instructor, witnessing my success, said the words in this post title, adding, “That’s one of the two hardest moves to learn. The other is [insert several words that were nonsense to me], but you haven’t learned that yet. [Enter mental sigh of relief that I wasn’t supposed to have understood whatever the heck he just said.]
“Wow, thanks,” I responded, and tried not to beam too brightly.
This was Day 5. I don’t normally go on Saturdays, so it was mostly a new cast of characters, and more of them. Most notably, two older gentlemen. One with experience, one fairly new. This one I will call “The Commentator.” When Instructor demonstrated something, it would frequently elicit an “Oooh,” “Ohhh,” and even, you guessed it, “Ahhh,” from The Commentator.
After one of these, Enthusiastic Teen next to me snickered.
He was also enthusiastic in trying to help me out by adding his own instructions in stage whispers while Instructor did his thing. Was it irritating? Oh, yeah, you betcha. “Let me listen, punk!” [More internal monologue.]
Enthusiastic Teen jumped in to partner with me, apparently not bothered that I’m likely his mom’s age. He’s been doing this for years, and was decently helpful. We sort of razzed each other, which was fun and different. At one point he made me laugh, so I chided, “Knock it off. There’s no laughing in Jiu Jitsu!”
Toward the end I was seriously flagging and felt like my brain was shutting down. I told him as much, since I couldn’t even remember the first step. He told me, “Take a breath. … Now think.” Unexpected good advice from someone so young.
At the end of class, Instructor said, “Everyone clap for Greg on his first class.” I was irrationally irritated that there was no “Everyone clap for Betsy” after my first class, but I got over it. I’m amused by the fact that, though still a newbie myself, I can already spot the newer members.
At the start of this class, “Greg” sat off by himself, not making eye contact, while others warmed up. In the previous class, a similarly furtive-looking student who reminded me of a very young, even skinnier Adrian Brody, shifted uncomfortably. I wonder if I looked so incredibly out of my element on my first day.
In that previous class, Day 4, the only other student besides Adrian and myself was Sweaty Man, who still lived up to his name.
When I entered, he first asked me how my ear was doing, which was kind of him. We made small talk about our daughters and Taekwondo, which was also nice. Though initially known as Indifferent Man, Sweaty Man may be the first one I befriend.
That was all before he dropped me on my head.
He and I were paired so Instructor could work with Adrian. The move should not have ended with my skull bouncing against the floor, but SM got a little excited, apparently.
I could not help but yell, “Ow!” and rub my head as I stood up. My first thought was, “This mat is not nearly as soft and squishy as it appears.”
I assured SM that I was fine, and we continued. But after that, Instructor gave a speech about going slowly and taking it easy. He mostly looked at me as he said this, and I nodded along like I was taking it to heart. Then I realized he was only looking at me so as not to embarrass SM. From then all, he sicked SM on Adrian and partnered with me. When we got into position, I said to Instructor, “Don’t worry. I’ll take it easy on you.” I think he smiled, but he seemed more interested in whether or not I was genuinely okay. I was, and I appreciated his concern.
Let me end with a special welcome to Tom. I discovered his blog, Tom Writes and Rolls, (brilliant title!) via a link at the bottom of my last post. Tom’s been doing Jiu Jitsu for 4.5 years, as opposed to my 4.5 minutes, and his virtual encouragement is, well, encouraging. Hi, Tom! I’m really glad to have met you!
*Regarding my last post title, “Blood, sweat, and a tear,” how many of you caught on that I meant tear as in a rip and not salt water falling from one’s eye?
Also, I know I’m spending more time writing than I am reading these days, which is selfish of me. I gotta get these stories down before they get knocked out of my head, perhaps literally, but I really do want to get caught up on what all is happening with my BBBs. Thanks for your patience!