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.)
I went down an Amazon T-shirt rabbit hole. Throughout this post are pics of the two shirts you overwhelmingly voted for last time (immediately below) and several more for your consideration and entertainment. Let me know which are your faves. I will purchase one of them, but know that my vote counts triple. 😉
I arrived late to Jiu-Jitsu Monday night, which I don’t mind, as I want to avoid the practice-before-class-officially-starts part. I was not late enough, however. The only un-partnered person on the mat was the only one who scares me. Not because he’s big, but because he looks like a dude who would be typecast as the bad guy. He’s the Danny Trejo of Jiu-Jitsu.
The guy in my class is young, though, long haired and with knuckle tattoos. He looks like he’d be one of Chicken Man’s henchmen in Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul.
I was more than happy to stretch out waaaaaay on the other side of the mat from Li’l Trejo until Instructor spotted me and suggested I jump in with this guy. Fine. I greeted him and offered a fist bump. He lifted a hand to shake. We both smiled. He closed his hand for a bump. I opened mine for a shake. We laughed, we smiled, we gave up on a third attempt, and I realized he’s not the classic villain, he’s the family pet, namely, the sweet puppy dog.
I wasn’t paired with him during class but with a guy who had the darkest blue eyes I’d ever seen on a human. He was also a bit rough. When trying to do the move, he made me work for it. I’m used to guys taking it easy on me. Maybe I should be grateful that this guy didn’t treat me as anything special.
He also gave me my latest war wounds:
Instructor is great about including me. Months ago, when there were more people in the 11:00 class, he was angled away from me as he told a story “to the guys,” but then he turned his head and made eye contact with me as well, bringing me into the group. It was then that I truly felt I’d been accepted as one of them, at least by him.
In our recent one-on-one classes, he’d say, “When you get to Master Cycle…” which comes after this beginners’ Combatives course. Notice the “when,” not “if.”
Tonight he twice said “man or woman.” For instance, “…with your thumb pointed back at yourself because you’re the man or the woman.”
A couple funnies: He was crouched over his opponent, calling it “Spiderman pose.” Then he put both hands out, middle fingers pressed to his palms. This must have been a new one, not only to me, because the literal actual black belt next to me chuckled along with me.
Another time he said, with a completely straight face, “You want to go fast, not only because it’s smoother, but because it looks cool.”
Next he talked about doing the arm bar on someone much stronger. “If you need to, you can grab the top of his hand for greater leverage, but I’ve really only needed to do that twice.” He continued instructions and asked if anyone had questions.
A guy raised his hand and asked, “Was I one of those two?”
Instructor thought for a moment. “You might have been, yeah.”
And in the brief moment of silence that followed, I was feeling comfortable enough to be silly. See if you can guess how.
This was a large Jiu-Jitsu class, with no familiar faces. And no female faces. Instructor greeted me with a smile, as always, and suggested I jump in to practice with someone. Everyone was paired off. He was busy on-boarding a newbie. While everyone else grappled on the mat, I stretched.
You can only work on your legs for so long before it’s obvious you’re stalling. I got up and wandered over to the card rack where students’ cards show how many classes they’ve had. Probably not supposed to be nosy, but I was desperate to kill time. Savage Teen Girl is close to her fourth stripe (one for every 20 classes). As I suspected, Adrian Brody’s card was gone. He must have quit.
Seeing their cards made me wonder, where was Timmy? Surfer Dude 1 and/or 2? Lopez? Enthusiastic Teen? Indifferent/Sweaty Man? Heck, I would’ve been grateful even for STG at that point.
I sat on the bench and checked Twitter… Signal… read about cuttlefish on wiki… And overall felt grateful to have a smart phone so I looked slightly less like an idiot.
I considered being assertive, just walking over to a pair of dudes and asking if I could jump in. But no one even glanced my way. Another guy I’d never seen came in late. I smiled; he ignored me. I looked at him again, ready to compliment his eyebrow ring and say something about my cartilage piercings, but he jogged past me onto the mat. Another guy greeted him with, “There are no third wheels here.”
Unless you’re a girl, apparently.
You know those movies where the woman is the lone female in a male-dominated field so she has to be confident and assertive to gain everyone’s respect despite the odds stacked against her?
I might as well rename this blog, Jiu Jitsu is funny, huh? I’ve come a long way from writing about the silly antics of my kids, with the occasional foray into Chex Mix and chickens. If you’ll bear with me, one more JJ post. Then I’ll take a break for a while, promise. But gotta get this down before I forget.
Here are some of my Jiu Jitsu instructor’s best funnies, always said with a straight face.
Remember that Instructor is small, making him the perfect poster child for a martial art meant to be used against bigger, stronger opponents. He’ll frequently describe non-JJ moves that someone could try (and likely fail) as a means to defend themselves.
“I could go for a knock-out punch, and if that works, great. I hope someone got it on video. But if it doesn’t work, and he starts swinging, that’s a bad day for me.”
In another lesson he explained the importance of being stacked straight when lying on our side, shoulder over shoulder, hip over hip, straight up and down. “You want a perfect stack of pancakes, not a wobbly one. That’s what you get at Denny’s. When they bring that out to you, you send it back.”
Today he explained how to duck under a “haymaker punch” (your standard wide swing. I didn’t know either), ending with, “But most importantly, it looks cool when you duck under a punch. Someone will ask, ‘Do you box?’ ‘Nah, bro, Jiu Jitsu.'”