I owe you an update (and can’t think of a better subject line).


The hits keep coming

My Jiu-Jitsu instructor explained how to trap someone’s arm when they go for a punch so you can more easily roll them over and get on top of the fight. Someone asked, “What if the other person doesn’t try to punch you? How will you trap their arm then?”

“You can say something like, ‘You hit like a kid!’ That will make them want to punch you.”

He didn’t say “like a girl” because I’m here.

Then Instructor added, “I would’ve said, ‘You hit like a girl,’ but Betsy’s here and she hit me once and it wasn’t fun.”

Knew it.

The guys on either side turned to look at me, but I kept my face forward and smiled. I’ve never hit Instructor! But it was funny.

Also funny: when Instructor leaned sideways to demonstrate something and said, “I didn’t have my V8 today… That used to be a thing.”

One guy on the other end of the line stuck his head out, looking at the rest of us with a giant grin that bit back a laugh. Everyone else ignored him, but I caught the smile and sent it right back. Seeing other people enjoy Instructor’s jokes is almost as much fun as the jokes themselves.

The Return of Surfer Dude

Remember when I named my first practice partner Surfer Dude because he had the look of one, not because I knew he surfed? Another guy was talking to him about his big yellow van. After class, I saw the van. There was a wet suit hanging to dry over a side mirror and these stickers on the back.

He IS a surfer dude. Called it!

Relating to Li’l Trejo

Thanks to Mark reminding me of a Disturbed song, I was able to say to Li’l Trejo, “Guess what song I heard on the way here. I’ll give you a clue… maybe. ‘Oh-wa-ah-ah-ah.'”

“Oh! Down with the Sickness,” he said immediately.

“You got it! I wasn’t sure I could do that well enough.”

“No, it was great. That was the song that got me into Disturbed. When I first heard it, I said, ‘Mom, Dad, you gotta get me this CD.’ They got me the clean version. I had to wait until later to get the real version.”

How young IS this guy?

Regarding ET

There was a moment after a class when I could’ve said something to Instructor about ET’s extra attention, but he was intently working at his computer, logging our classes, maybe. Lots of room for human error there. His expression carried with it an invisible “Do not disturb” sign around his neck, so I let it go.

Thank you, Koala Park Laundromat, of pixabay.

At the start of the next class, everyone moved away from the wall to partner up except for me, ET a few feet to my right, and Lopez a few feet to my left. I gave ET an apologetic smile as I stepped toward Lopez. ET threw his arm up in a “what the heck?” gesture. But because there were an odd number of people and Lopez is an upper belt, Instructor pulled him from me, put me with ET, and had Lopez roam the room, assisting as needed.

I’ve realized a few things about ET: 1. He’s harmless. He did make some comment about how something would make me “just a little bit prettier.” I missed the first part of what he said. I ignore half of what he says anyway. But clearly there was only one response I could give to this:

“That would imply there was room for improvement.”

He laughed.

2. He’s not terrific at Jiu-Jitsu. This stinks for me because I want the more experienced students, like himself, to help me get better, but here I was correcting and teaching him.


Although, when it was time for me to do the “trap and roll” on him, he rolled over and pulled me with him, doing the work for me.

“Nice job, Betsy,” Instructor said as he walked by.

“I saw him coming. That’s why I did that,” ET said. I guess if he wants to help me look good…

And 3. It seems we naturally pair with each other because we’re the outsiders: he’s the kid. I’m the girl. So be it.

As I was leaving, Instructor asked, “Did you have fun?”

“Instructor,” I said, (but not really, of course) “I could be wheeled out of here on a stretcher, and I’d still say I had fun.”

Then ET rushed forward and said, “You were going to leave without saying goodbye?”

“Goodbye ET,” I said (but not really, of course). He gave me a quick “bro hug.” Out of the corner of my eye, I’m fairly certain I saw Instructor smile. At least Instructor knows for certain that ET and I are pals and I meant nothing by that comment for which I was scolded.

Wall Drills Are No More

Behind me is the famous Wall at which we stand and from which we used to do drills. This pic of me with Instructor, by the way, will forever be one of my favorite pictures of all time.

I was getting a little anxious at the start of last night’s class, as it was mostly filled with newbies, sprinkled with a couple of regulars I’d never paired with before. Then, just as we were stepping away from the wall to practice the first move, Jack the Black Belt walked in.

“Perfect timing!” I said. “Now guillotine me.”

“What? Okay.”

And so it went, with Jack teaching me to crank to the side to really land the choke quickly, and pointing out that my skinny arms are an advantage, as I have a much easier time sneaking one around his neck than his meaty arms do around mine.

I mean, it was this or I take up knitting, right?

I suppose this is a thing I could be into one day. “But it is not this day!” -Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. Thanks Sweet Mellow Chill of pixabay for the image and for using a cool name.

Near the end of class, Instructor had us close our eyes and raise our hand if we like Wall Drills. Cute that we’re back in grade school and have to close our eyes so as not to be influenced by peer pressure. I responded by shrugging, leaving both hands half up. Wall Drills are okay, I guess.

Apparently the majority vote was “no.” You were so right, Tom, when you said you guaranteed a lot of people were kind of stressed out by those. Maybe I didn’t care much one way or the other because when I lose, it’s expected anyway–the privilege of being the underdog. On the flip side, (pun!) imagine how demoralizing it must be for the guys I beat. (Though I feel no sympathy. Suckas!)

Instead, Instructor had us stay with our partners and rapid fire all the techniques we learned that day while taking turns with boxing gloves on.

“Betsy,” Jack said. I looked at him, full of attention. “I want you to really try to hit me.”

“Okay.” And right toward the end, I did, right in the cheek. “I’m so sorry!”

“No, it was good. I needed that.”

So not only have I made the black belt sweat, I punched him in the face.

I’ll bet he won’t be accusing anyone of hitting like a girl.

What’s something cool you accomplished this week? Hopefully it’s non-violent, but I won’t judge. Those knitting needles do look vicious.

53 responses »

  1. Oh, I’m so glad for the update, Betsy! Love that your skinny arms are better for the guillotine and that Instructor’s jokes are still funny!

    But most of all, I love that you are still bringing all of your wit and charm to JJ and making the class fun no matter what time it’s at!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know, if you combined Jiu-Jitsu with knitting needles, you’d have a deadly combination. I was once hit by a girl, but surgery and months of physical therapy got me over it. Still, I limp a little when it rains. Interesting that you have surfer dudes in your town. Here in the desert we don’t have that many. Personally, I think it’s due to the lack of an ocean.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. this is why I’m scared to do Jiu-Jitsu…watching women like you. There’s a lady at our dojo who rolled with me once, because our BJJ instructor randomly decided to take over a Krav Maga class one day, and it took me days to get over the pain lol. Also my brain does NOT connect to my body when rolling. Heh. Also no to the knitting for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s sad when you realize something like a V8 commercial is now an inside joke among us old folks! Boo Hiss! I suppose saying, β€œHey Mikey! He likes it!” would also return blank stares these days.

    Ok, I cracked up at your ET story because after your β€˜only one response I could give him’ there is a DuckDuckGo ad placement. Weird! Have a great weekend, Girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OMG Disturbed! My kids used to listen to them. I need to check back to see if they still do. As for clean versions – when my kids were younger, I checked lyrics before I let them get music. They still talk about that πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you, BCM. That’s just good parenting. I only know a few Disturbed songs from the radio. I have no idea how unclean the real versions get. I can tell you I enjoy their cover of The Sound of Silence! (And the original.)


  6. Wouldn’t want to cross you when you have knitting needles in your hands. You already have enough weapons with empty hands. The V-8 joke prompted the image of the entire line of you slapping your foreheads. (Didn’t happen? Darn – must be a younger crowd). Surfer Dude’s yellow van prompted the scene from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” where Jeff Spicoli and his buds stumble out of his smoke-filled van in the school parking lot. Just like the V-8 commercials, I’ll never forget that movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have had to wait through the weekend to read this! My accomplishment this weekend was to actually go on bike rides 2 days in a row. Where we used to ride almost daily, for the past 2 years we have not. It shows. Anyway. Bike. 2 days. I feel a little more human.


  8. You know, skinny people really DO have an advantage in cinching in chokes. I used to think it was a myth, but when skinny people land triangles on me so much more often, I’m starting to see the correlation. When thick people choke me, all I feel is the pressure building in my head and pain, but nothing incapacitating. When skinny people do it, I just black out before I feel any pain. Unfair! Lol. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, big strong people have distinct advantages too. Though I was doing some move… Americana arm lock, I believe, and my opponent said he was tapping not from the arm lock, but from the pressure of my bony arms digging into him. I said, “You work with what you’ve got.” (Although I wouldn’t mind not being so skinny, but whatever. I’ll take the advantage while I can.) πŸ˜‰ Thanks, Stuart!


  9. I didn’t expect your instructor to look like that especially with that v8 comment. it’s an adorable photo nonetheless. anyways it seems like you are the most intuitive in this class, I’m wondering if it’s because you are the only female…continue to keep them on their toes.

    Liked by 1 person

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