Category Archives: Jiu Jitsu

When worlds collide

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I’d been keeping my dalliance with Jiu-Jitsu a secret from my Taekwondo sensei for fear he might feel cheated on.

But, of course, he had to ask how I hurt my foot. So, of course, I had to come clean. And, of course, he didn’t believe me.

Which was insulting. Did he not think I could kick butt in multiple disciplines? But he covered with something about me being sarcastic and therefore hard to believe.

Sarcastic? Me?

“So, is this a new thing you’ve started?” he asked, once I’d finally convinced him.

“Uuuuumm… Well. Since the end of last year, actually.”

“Huh,” he said.

Then I employed the line Chatter Master suggested to me months ago: “Thank you for helping me discover a love for martial arts that made me want to learn even more.”

He nodded. [Well done, CM!] “Jiu-Jitsu is good self defense,” he admitted. “Any fight that lasts more than six or eight seconds is bound to end up on the ground. This is good for you to learn.”

“So you’re not upset with me?”

He shook his head. Then he said, “I had no idea you had a secret double life.”

I like the sound of that.

Next I said the thing my Jiu-Jitsu instructor suggested months ago: “Do you want to maybe come check out a class with me?”

Lo and behold:

SENSEI! In my Jiu-Jitsu dojo. Sensei was here!

I wish I had gotten a picture of my two instructors shaking hands. If anyone felt the earthquake, that’s what caused it.

Sensei just wanted to observe, so we sat on the side together. I can’t participate because of my injury, but it was good to be there to try to keep up with the training/not forget everything.

It was cool doing this with Sensei when I’m already advanced in Jiu-Jitsu so I could answer his questions and demonstrate, from my seated position, the rationale behind different types of grabs. It was interesting to hear his comments, too, notably: “He’s a good teacher,” which I shared with Instructor later.

On the whole, Sensei enjoyed himself, thinks he may take a trial class down the road, and said it seems like a good group of people I “paid in advance to talk to me so it looked like I had friends.”

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The part I didn’t tell you.

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The part I didn’t tell you.

This post could also be called: Seriously? Again with the foot?!

I’m afraid so, friends.

Somewhere around my fourth or fifth Jiu-Jitsu drill attempt, I crunched my left foot beneath me. (Yep, that one again.) I drove my knee to the ground, as planned, but somehow didn’t leave enough space for my foot to flip over so the shoelace side would be down. Instead, with my knee to the ground, my foot started to flatten bottom-side down.

Go ahead and see what that must be like. I’ll wait.

You see? No bueno.

I kept going anyway, but then put my hand down when I wasn’t supposed to, so, knowing we’d have to redo it for that mistake anyway, I called a halt.

I just chilled, breathed through the pain, and a couple minutes later, was back on my feet, pain-free.

Isn’t the human body amazing? I’m guessing adrenaline kicked in and carried the day. I didn’t feel any more pain until sometime later, back at home, when I was walking around a bunch, out of necessity, and was like, “Huh. My foot hurts.”

I finished helping make pretzels for the Taekwondo belt ceremony and continued with my life. (Yep, same day. It was a productive one!)

Thank goodness this Taekwondo class was only a belt ceremony and not a normal lesson in all its running, jumping, kicking glory. There was, however, a bit of running: up to receive the belt, certificate, and Grey Poupon mustard packet. (That makes zero sense if you haven’t first read this.) Then running backwards to my spot on the floor. Afterward was just a bunch of standing around, talking, eating, and joking about decades-old commercials.

Pardon me…

Though I again felt zero pain at the ceremony, once home, I was limping.

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Dealing with adversity

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Dealing with adversity

So here’s a fun little thing I recently discovered about myself: When things get tough, my default is to quit.

Case in point: Playing pool with Hubby. There have been times where he is simply “on” and I am “off.” In other words, he’s smoking me. I get so discouraged that I only play worse, until I hang up my cue and walk away without finishing the game.

I know it isn’t pretty, but there we are.

This has been Jiu-Jitsu for me lately. I WAS at the top of my class, or so I thought. But it seems being the only one with four stripes on my belt doesn’t make me the best. There are a few three-stripers who are out stripping me.

Instructor posted this on Instagram. I think that means it’s fair game since it’s public. Can you spot me?

Take Gym Rat, his own characterization for himself. His shirt sleeves barely hold up against his muscly arms. He, ironically, calls me Killer, which I find funny. He also likes to offer me advice.

I know what you’re thinking, but I find it more kind than annoying. (But still a little annoying.)

Then there’s Tall Guy, who recently reported taking a private lesson because his work schedule prevents him from coming to most regular classes. At the lesson, Instructor said, “Let’s just take the test.”

And he passed. Just like that, without even intending to test yet. And did I mention he only has three stripes?

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The Return of Andre the Giant

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Those of you have been with me a while may remember “Timmy/Andre the Giant,” the tall guy who was my frequent Jiu-Jitsu partner at the 11 a.m. classes. The one who broke my foot in January. (I exaggerate. It was maybe my toe. And maybe not even, but I was limping and out of class for a while.)

My wounded foot a few days after “The Incident.”

That was the last I’d seen of Timmy until I arrived at an 8 p.m. class where the previous Master Cycle class was winding down.

“Hey there, stranger,” he said with nary a look of shock as I sauntered over.

“You don’t seem surprised to see me still here.”

“Nah, I knew you were hooked,” he said, reminding me of way back when I showed up a few minutes after 11 a.m. and he said, “I was beginning to worry.”

At the time, I told him, “If I’m not here, I’m dead.” Or, as it turns out, if I’m not here, it’s because you broke my foot.

Boy would it have been funny if I had said THAT to him.

~~~

I told SD1 that his blog nickname is Surfer Dude. He gave a big, appreciative, smiling nod. “Nice. I like it. It fits,” he said.

“And your little brother is Surfer Dude 2.”

“That’s okay. So long as I’m number one,” he said.

At a recent 8 p.m. class, there were only two students, both newbies. But SD1 and another blue belt, whom I’ll call ‘Stache,’ because he’s always perfectly clean shaven, (Just kidding. He has a mustache.) were also there.

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Betsy gets thrown

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Jiu-Jitsu was canceled Saturday because Instructor’s wife had a baby in the wee hours of the morning. When class did resume, a student, whom I’ll call Thoughtful One, slipped me a card and a pen. Many others had already signed the congratulations on the new baby card before it made its way to me. He was also collecting cash, “No pressure, though,” he said several times, to purchase a Target gift card.

I couldn’t help but feel ashamed of myself for not having been the Thoughtful One. I figured saying congratulations to his face would be enough. And it probably was, and yet… as the lone female, shouldn’t I have been the one to organize a card and gift? Yes, I know that’s stereotyping women. Still, I felt I should do more as the only mom and the student in class the longest.

So, this morning I ordered this for Instructor’s new daughter:

I’ll let you know how it’s received.

While I was shopping Amazon, another shirt caught my eye. (Oh, gosh, not THIS again!) It combines my love of Jiu-Jitsu and cats, as well as what has become my signature move, the Kimura. Last time I did it on Surfer Dude (SD1), he said, “You like that one, don’t you?”

“It’s my bread and butter,” I told him. (I don’t fully understand that expression, but it’s what came out of me at the moment.)

I didn’t buy it, though. I’m not trying to single-handedly finance Amazon’s entire line of Jiu-Jitsu shirts. (Besides, the Kimura requires two hands. Or paws.)

A couple more Instructor funnies:

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More Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Funnies

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First of all, do you ever experience a flash of emotion that is so fleeting you have to think back on what caused it?

I felt a quick surge of happiness when driving the other day and thought, “Where did that come from?” Then I realized I had passed my Jiu-Jitsu gym and had caught a glimpse of its darkened windows as I motored by.

Ah, Jiu-Jitsu.

I brought Youngest Daughter with me recently and got to relive the joy of hearing Instructor’s jokes for the first time through her laughter. She particularly enjoyed every time he said, “Motorcycle grip. Vroom. Vroom.”

There was also, “Walk your foot up like a duck, ‘Quack quack quack,'” and “Feed one hand to the other ‘Nom nom,'” as he had his hand “bite” his other wrist.

He explained Gable Grip as “double Queen Elizabeth hands.” He waved like she does, then clasped his hands together.

He also mentioned how a bigger stronger guy figures he can crush you when he gets you in a headlock. “Then you easily get out of it, and he looks confused. You say, ‘I do Jiu-Jitsu. Don’t be confused.'”

Another time, when demonstrating with a guy, he asked, “Who’s stronger, him or me?” Someone said, “Him.” Instructor paused, put a hand over his heart and said, “Too quick, bro. I’m hurt. That was too quick.” (Did I already share that one? If so, sorry.)

The Wall, with a few student cards sticking out.

At the start of a class last week, everyone stepped away from the wall to partner up, leaving me standing alone. Then Instructor’s standard demo partner, SD1 (Surfer Dude), strutted up to me with his chest out in a “You want a piece of me?” fashion. Ha! 🙂

Later it was taking a while to complete the Americana armlock on him. I said, “If I don’t submit you, I might submit myself from having my nose in your armpit.”

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Some redemption and other happy things

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You may have noticed that I’ve had fewer Jiu-Jitsu stories to share lately. I suppose my getting better at it is to blame for my lack of entertainment for you.

We all knew it was bound to happen eventually. Probably for most people, it would’ve happened months ago.

However, I did majorly screw up recently. (Let’s pretend I did it just for you.)

I was partnered with Instructor’s youngest brother, Surfer Dude 2. The last portion of class is Mount Drills, where you try to throw the other person off. I had already successfully thrown SD2 once within the 60 second allotment and was prepared to do so again with a cool new move I learned from a Jiu-Jitsu video, not from class.

Farewell, my Surfer Dude friend. You’re about to get rolled.

Suddenly, I became aware of Instructor, SD1, and another upper belt standing there cheering me on.

I had SD2 locked up and ready to roll left, yet I kept attempting to roll him to the right. In that direction, he wasn’t going anywhere.

“Toward me, Betsy. Roll toward me,” came Instructor’s voice, yet I kept pushing the wrong way. Finally, I gave up and heard a collective, disappointed chorus of, “Ohhh,” from the bystanders. One lamented, “It was all set up,” before they walked away.

I was mortified. What the heck happened?! For the rest of the day, I couldn’t let it go. Several times, I asked Hubby to assure me that they’d forgotten the whole incident. (He dutifully complied.) The next day I dropped a fork or something, and he said, “Did that happen because you rolled the wrong way?” which, though funny, brought the memory of the embarrassment crashing down again.

My next class was a week later. I brought my youngest daughter with me for a trial class. It was an unusually small turnout, with only three other students. So, when Instructor needed a demo partner, he chose the most senior student there, which happened to be me.

I gave a delighted little hop skip away from the wall when he called me up. (Obviously, I was super professional and kept my cool.)

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Crazy with a purple belt

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My girls and I are now officially halfway to our black belts in Taekwondo.

I thought it would be fun to jazz up our testing and surprise Sensei by counting off our 25 warm up jumping jacks in Korean instead of English.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see his face when we began: “Hana, dhul, set, net, daseot…” I imagined him, eyebrows raised, failing to fight down a smile.

And how did he respond?

With nary a flinch. When we finished, he said, “Okay, next drill…”

Zero acknowledgement whatsoever!

I was so disappointed.

My purple belt.

During testing of the form itself, two people test at once. Because it’s always been my style to mess something up, I turned right when I was supposed to turn left. Fortunately, I had the sense of mind to course correct and continue unfazed.

On the way out, I said to Sensei, “I trust you were looking at the other person when I messed up?”

“Yes. I didn’t see your 17 mistakes.”

So he CAN still be funny.

“Furthermore,” I continued, “how can we count in Korean and you not react at all?”

“I can react with my ears. I heard you. And was that to earn bonus points?”

“Well, if it helps.”

“Do you know the next number, or did you only learn what you needed?”

“Sumul yeoseot.”

He nodded. “Good.”

If anything, I earned points in that moment.

The YouTube video that helped us learn.

BTW, I was out of town for several days. You know how when you board a plane, there’s that patch of walkway from airport to airplane where there’s no AC? When I stood in that spot, waiting my turn to board, I thought, “Whew! What is this heat?!” So I checked my phone.

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Guess who’s limping again?

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Okay, even I admit this is getting ridiculous.

In Taekwondo, we were doing jump spin crescent kicks. Sounds cool, doesn’t? Looks cool, too.

When Sensei does it. When I do it, I look like I’m having a mid-air seizure.

But I land on my toes.

Not in a graceful ballerina way, but in a, “Crunch. There go my toes,” way.

One particular toe clearly took the brunt of it. The pinky toe is like, “Thanks, brah.” Purple toe: “No prob. You took the hit last time.” Pinky: “Chah right I did!” Purple: “Total bummer, dude.” Pinky: “For suuuuure.”

No idea why my toes are 90’s male stoners.

Aside from the above, I had planned to stop posting bruise pics, but I was oddly excited to discover not a bruise, but a bump!

An actual, genuine bump! I do remember my arm hurting during Jiu-Jitsu, but don’t know exactly what happened to it.

This did eventually turn into a delightfully colorful bruise.

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He said it.

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He said it.

One part of last night’s Jiu-Jitsu lesson involved utilizing the triangle choke if your arm bar fails. Instructor emphasized trapping your opponent’s head while doing so. “It’s like a balloon. If you let go, it floats away. You don’t want it to float away because then you have to spend another $50 to get another one for your kid at Disneyland.”

The funny visual aside, I was reminded of the triangle choke class where I kept forgetting to trap my opponent’s head. He’d pop it up and say, “Your balloon is getting away.” Then I realized my partner from that class was standing next to me. I looked at him to find him looking at me, clearly thinking the same thing. We quietly chuckled.

I searched for an appropriate photo. This isn’t it, but I’ll use it anyway because it’s stupid and funny. Thanks, Kelle Pics from Pixabay.

Another nice thing: the guys greeting me by name and with a smile. One such gentleman I hadn’t met, but he still said, “Hello, Betsy,” with a friendly smile. Yes, I know his name now. It’s an uncommon one, so that makes it easier to remember. There are three pairs of people with the same name, and one name being utilized by three people. One of those is Li’l Trejo. Maybe I should just call him that instead to vary things up. Do you think he’d mind?

And now for a bit of throwback from January:

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