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. 😉
The guy who said I have the perfect limbs for crushing someone’s life out (Be still my heart) was the only one unpartnered when I arrived for Saturday’s class. I was glad I’d already met him during the Triangle Choke class, as that made this much easier.
“Looks like it’s you and me,” I said on approach.
“Let’s do it,” he said with a nod.
This man is my new Timmy/Andre in general size, except Andre was careful with me. (Despite that whole bending my foot backward incident.) This New Andre, whom I’ll call Drake, heavily dragged his leg over mine multiple times (as expected, I’m feeling it today) and gave me a knee to the stomach. I said “Oof” many times and a couple of “Ow”s.
Still a nice guy, he was at least trying to not hurt me.
At one point he said, “You got Draked.”
Somehow, in the moment, I found it funny. Now, I just find it as lame as lame can be. I hope to avoid partnering with him in future classes.
After class, I had an opportunity to “relate” to Li’l Trejo.
“I saw a Korn sticker on your water bottle a while back,” I told him.
“Yeah.” He smiled.
“One time after class, I turned on the radio and a Korn song was playing. So I cranked it up and drove fast. Then I got stopped at a light.”
“Oh,” he grimaced.
“I was like, doesn’t this light know I just came from Jiu-Jitsu? I need to GO!”
He smiled in understanding. “I like metal like Korn and Disturbed…”
I nodded in recognition. Disturbed has a cool cover of The Sound of Silence. Don’t ask me to name any other songs. And I only knew I was listening to Korn because I used Shazam, a song recognition app.
Li’l Trejo continued with other band names foreign to me. “I just love music.”
“Me too,” I said.
“Not a lot of girls like Korn. It’s rad that you do.”
My shoulders hurt after Monday’s Jiu-Jitsu class, so Tuesday night I thought to myself: I gotta bandage my shoulders before tomorrow’s class.
Wednesday morning: I gotta bandage my shoulder’s before tonight’s class.
Wednesday afternoon: I gotta bandage my shoulder’s before tonight’s class.
Wednesday night’s class: I didn’t bandage my shoulders.
Because I simply refuse to wear the thick hot heavy gi top, much to Jiu-Jitsu purple belt blog buddy Tom’s consternation, I knew my shoulders were going to take a hit.
It was 80 degrees yesterday, okay?! And even hotter in the gym. I put both fists up to bump Surfer Dudes 1 and 2 as I slid between them against the wall.
“It’s hot in here,” remarked SD2.
“No kidding,” I said.
“Hi, Betsy,” said SD1, clearly harboring no grudge for last class’s rear naked choke.
This class was Elbow Escape, which requires “shrimping:” moving away from your opponent by pushing off the floor with one foot and rotating on the opposite shoulder. Basically, we’re curling then straightening our bodies to move backwards, much like how a shrimp swims when it wants to get away quickly.
To add injury to injury, Instructor had everyone lay down and practice shrimping from one side of the room to the other and back again. I was feeling the sting immediately. Here’s where the gi top would’ve helped, but I had planned to have pre-bandaged shoulders! And that was before I knew this class would involve any shrimping, let alone a TON of shrimping.
The elbow escape itself requires not one but three shrimps, or in my case, four. My opponent was on the short side, so I needed to shrimp an extra time to create space for my foot to get out from behind his knee.
I can’t help but read those three words and hear them shouted in unison by a game show audience. You?
I discovered a few more bruises on my arms and thought, Huh. Wonder what those are from. Could be Jiu-Jitsu, could be from running into something. Well, probably not. That does happen on occasion, but I’m not a klutz. Though I have no problem making fun of myself. For instance, has anyone heard me sing? Of course not, because anyone who has immediately takes their life afterward.
Probably could’ve taken those in a more balanced manner. Sorry about that. Not trying to elbow you in the face.
Like all good stories, this one begins with a cat.
This did, however, enable me to discover two packages waiting for me.
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.
I’ve mentioned that I teach middle and high school girls self defense after school once a week. My Partner in Crime (PiC) teaches the boys. We’ve been doing this in a classroom, pushing the desks and chairs off the to side, and laying mats on the floor. The teacher of that room often comes in, carefully skirting the mats (we have a strict no shoes on the mat rule) to get something from his desk.
It’s also the classroom where teacher meetings are usually held. One afternoon the principal got on the intercom to announce a teacher meeting. Just before he could say which room to meet in, this particular teacher rushed into the principal’s office and said, “Not the 8th grade! They’re doing Fight Club in there!”
I was so glad someone witnessed this and told me about it later.
Before weather was less permissive, we stretched the mats out on the grass in the courtyard. Frequently teachers, sometimes parents, would walk by, staring. It undoubtedly looked weird. I’d wave to them from the ground as I had their child or student locked up in Punch Box Stage 1, for instance.
“Nothing to see here. Just teaching your sweet girl how to hurt people.” (Didn’t actually say that. But it was implied.)
Recently a girl showed up late so one of my students got her up to speed. “Come here. Let me show you. First you do this, this, then this, this,” etc.
I stood there watching, hands clasped to my chest, fighting back tears (just kidding), but I was so very very proud.
Because I brought Neighbor to class, Instructor offered me a free t-shirt with the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu logo and the name of our local gym. He didn’t have an adult small, so he offered me a child’s large.
The child’s large was too big for me.
I relayed this story to PiC. He said, “You need to eat more.”
So he prescribed me this “diet:”
I shared the t-shirt story with another friend and told him of PiC’s prescribed milkshake routine to bulk up. He said, “Well, yeah,” and pointed at my arm.
So I punched him in his biceps.
He rubbed it. “That was a good hit.”
Because he knows I do Jiu-Jitsu, I told him, “That was my Taekwondo training. And if it bruises, I want to see it.”
I texted this story to my sensei because I realized afterward that I had proper form without having to think about it. I thought he’d be proud. Instead:
I also told him about my other friend and the milkshake diet. He responded:
It’s great that both my martial arts instructors are funny.
So I’ve been trying to eat more and drink my milkshakes, which are quite yummy. Too bad they are meant to be in addition to other meals, but they usually wind up being the meal.
Then, of course, because nothing can go my way for long, this happened:
Remember “Timmy,” the guy I compared to Andre the Giant because he’s big, and when he demos Jiu-Jitsu with Instructor, I can barely see Instructor?
We had another one of those classes where Instructor disappeared behind Timmy’s limbs. For the first half of this class, Instructor partnered with me. We started with a standing move where you get the “bad guy” “in the clinch.” In the previous class, we learned that from here you can do a “body fold takedown” and get the person on the ground. I told Instructor that in that class, I had a really hard time doing the takedown on Savage Teen Girl’s Dad. (At that class, Mom was there, too, so, thankfully, those two ladies partnered together, sparing me from teen girl’s savagery. And, yes, super cool that they’re a JJ family.)
Instructor said, “If you have a hard time working with someone again, let me know, and I’ll partner with you. I can be a good bad guy. I’m the best bad guy, and soon you’ll be a good bad guy too.”
Another example of #ThingsSafelyOnlySaidInJiuJitsu, was when, later in that class, still working with Savage Teen Girl’s Dad, he said, “You need to take your knees off the ground.”