Tag Archives: Jiu Jitsu

You never know, so just, be cool.


I was running late to meet a friend at her house so we could drive together to some event. Her neighborhood has several speed bumps, and I had the misfortune of being behind someone who was taking each bump at 1 mph. I’ve never claimed to be patient. I will claim to always be cutting it fine when it comes to being somewhere on time. So this added slow-down was extra frustrating.

The car in front of me, probably sensing my irritation, (I suppose I was following too closely) eventually pulled over so I could drive past. I shot a glance at the driver, a dude in his 30s or 40s.

from Rodrigo on Pexels

I told my friend about it, when I eventually made it to her house. “Wasn’t that so weird and annoying?” I asked her.

“He was probably delivering a cake,” she said.

Just like that, my indignation was brought up short. “You think?”

“My mom made and delivered cakes. Sometimes I’d go with her and she always had to be extra cautious over speed bumps.”

And so what a jerk I was, being irritated by some guy who gave me a look as I passed that basically said, “Could you just ease up already?”

Maybe he wasn’t delivering a cake, (then again, maybe he was) but regardless, he undoubtedly had good reason for driving so slowly. Maybe a sick kid in the back?

My friend’s statement made me realize how much easier it is to understand people’s actions, and forgive them, when you’ve been in their position too.

But even if you don’t “get it” from your own personal experience, it’s always best to be patient and kind. You never know what people are dealing with.

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The one about physical therapy


I’ve been doing physical therapy twice a week, and it seems mostly pointless to me. Can’t I just get better at walking by, oh, I don’t know… walking?

I finally asked the lady at the front desk of the gym if she cared if I hopped on an exercise bike after PT. Her lips formed a tight line. “You’d need a membership,” she said and chased me out with daggers shot from her eyes.

That answers that question. Brrr. On my next visit, I’ll wear jeans so she’ll know I’m not planning to stay for an ill-gotten workout. Otherwise, I imagine her whispering to a colleague, “Keep an eye on that one.”

On my latest visit, I decided to make friends with my fellow PT inmates by saying to one, “So, what are you in for?”

She had had a tumor in her spine! Her entire spinal column is now titanium, and she’s learning to walk again after five years in a wheelchair.

I wanted to hide my lowly “bruised-boned” foot behind my leg.

A third woman was doing breathing exercises in a chair facing away from us. “I feel like I’ve been put in the corner,” she said. We chuckled genially. Then the titanium lady had to literally stand in the corner, one hand on each wall to do… something. I didn’t hear the instructions. Naturally I pointed out that she was now in the corner, to which Titanium responded in a plaintive tone to her imaginary accuser, “I’m sorry!”

Doing our best to make our mutual pain more fun.

The most challenging thing I have to do is lift my big toe–only. Lifting all my toes together, sure, but the big one separately? Not so much. It’s a different muscle, I was told, so I should be able to do it. I don’t know if it’s muscle damage or muscle coordination that’s the culprit here. I sent a picture to Hubby of my latest attempt.

Still a purplish Frankenfoot, but at least it’s from a distance. Don’t zoom in. I said, Don’t zoom in!

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Hey, Ma, look what I can do!


No, not wear mismatched socks; although, yes, that. My right foot can wear normal socks; the left requires larger fluffier socks. And doesn’t it deserve that?

For the first time since I was… what?… seven months? When do kids stand for the first time? I should know this. Anyway, I discovered I can put my foot down.

And keep it there.

I’m standing on my own two feet again.

For a few seconds before it starts hurting. But still! Progress!

Several of you have inquired how my healing is going, and my answer has pretty much been: it’s not. Since many of you also comment that I’m great at keeping my chin up, I haven’t wanted to talk about my struggles and let you down.

It’s really not so bad, but maybe the worst is when I dream that I can walk and then within my dream am like, “Oh. Wait.”

Or when watching something and thinking, “Wow. That person can walk!” Or seeing pics of my younger self as, “back in the good ol’ days when I could walk.”

Which is sort of dumb since it’s only been months, not years. And these are not complaints or “where are my tissues?” thoughts. They’re just a shift in perspective that makes me sooooo not take walking for granted. When I can actually do so again, it’s going to be uh-mazing!

On our recent family trip to the zoo, I saw an old lady also in a wheelchair. As we rolled past each other, I wanted to double tap my chest and extend a peace sign in solidarity. But she probably would’ve thought/discovered what a weirdo I am.

Before Christmas, we went to a shopping center that had a huge Christmas tree strung with lights that impressively changed color in time with festive music. There was also a machine blowing bubbles for kids, including mine, to prance around in and pop.

I sat nearby in my wheelchair, remarking to Hubs that I felt like a 90-year-old watching her great grandchildren. All I needed was a quilt across my lap.

Actually, that would’ve been nice. It was kind of chilly.

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2022 Photo Dump


Throughout the year I’ve stockpiled random photos to eventually use on my blog. Many of them never made it. Today seems as good a day as any to finally post them.

This one’s from April. If you zoom in, you can see the guy on the far right smiling.

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“Wherefore art thou, Jiu-Jitsu?”


I’m pretty sure that’s what Juliet would’ve said if she’d more wisely fallen in love with martial arts than that Montague guy. I’ll bet things would’ve turned out better for her. Oooh! Oooh! New book series idea: Shakespeare but with martial arts! Who wouldn’t want to read that? We’ll still keep any and all swordplay, however, because swords are awesome.

Anyway… I’ve only sat in on Jiu-Jitsu twice since The Incident two and half months ago. That’s because I’ve been relying on Sensei to go with me for safety reasons (after dark, on crutches). His availability has been sparse. But this past Monday, I told myself I was going with or without him.

For reasons I can’t quite parse out, I was nervous about going back. It’s been so long. Why should I bother? What’s the use? Are the guys going to get tired of asking how I’m you doing followed by some sentiment like “Hope you get better soon”? It’s dark and cold out. Wouldn’t I rather be at home where it’s warm and light?

All those thoughts were running through my mind as I waited for my girls to finish Taekwondo. As in the good old days, Hubby picked them up after class, so I could scoot directly to Jiu-Jitsu. Still, I could just follow them home if I wanted to wuss out.

I added an insert to make my shoe more squishy and supportive. That makes crutch usage a little better.

Then Sensei came out of the gym. “Last chance to come with me to Jiu-Jitsu,” I said.

“Rain check. But I can follow you over there if you like.”

“Okay.” The gyms are close to one another, so I wasn’t putting Sensei out much.

As I pulled into the parking lot, the sight of the bright lights, broad windows, and gi-clad students inside the dojo made me smile. That old warm feeling of “Ahhh, Jiu-Jitsu” returned.

Sensei parked near me and escorted me to the door.

“Were you afraid no one would see you and open the door for you?”

“I don’t know, maybe,” I shrugged. “This is just easier.”

When he pulled the door open for me, I immediately heard “Hey, Betsy!” from Instructor.

“Hi!” I said and shot a quick smile back to Sensei by way of thanks. Apparently it wasn’t enough, or he was making sure I was all right. He walked along the sidewalk outside, in the opposite direction of his car, while I headed to the benches inside. I met his eye through the window and gave him a big toothy grin, hoping that would suffice for a farewell, since I couldn’t exactly wave. (I didn’t bring the wheelchair because crutches are easier to get around on.)

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Finally got an MRI. Here’s what I learned + pictures!


Note: the pics have nothing to do with the story (until the end) but add a little levity, I hope. 🙂

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is an excellent time to get a procedure done. I was worried about finding close parking (wish I had a handicap sticker hanger thingy), or any parking, but the lot was all but empty. Score!

When a technician asked what I had done to my foot, I explained it was a martial arts injury. More details appeared to me needed. “Jiu-jitsu,” I replied. More still. “I sort of bent it backwards toward my leg.” And yet more. “It was a double leg takedown.” For the record, this person did not have the air of someone who does or knows much about martial arts.

Later I overheard this conversation being relayed to another technician who laughed at “double leg takedown.”

Buckling bear up for safety.

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When worlds collide


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.

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

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


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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