Thursday, December 9, 2010

This is Me With a Muscle Pull

No jiu-jitsu today. Beloved rest. Linament and ibuprofen for my overextended muscle and hopefully I’ll be able to join Saturday’s class.

Last night I mostly observed our new arm lock. Then I practiced with the instructor who is controlled enough to be gentle on my pulled back. After I practiced a few times with him and gained the control I needed, I mixed it up with the other new white belts. They were good about going easy, too. Funny, I felt that the guys were more comfortable treating me with kid gloves than when I’m in full form. Anyone else have that experience?

During open mat, I worked on some drills with one of the more advanced white belts. I can’t remember the names of the moves but I am affectionately coming up with my own. Last night I learned “The Flying Exit” and practiced “William the Conqueror.” Today as I was going over the new moves in my head, I realized that my first victories are not going to come from my skill, but from someone else’s underestimation of my skill. That is, I won’t win because I’m so awesome, but because my partner doesn’t expect me to know something and perhaps isn’t being so vigilant. So, this is chess on the mat?

My 8-year old plays chess competitively and he is constantly focused on his opponent’s rating. “I’m going to lose. He’s higher rated than me.” Or, “I’m going to win. He’s lower rated.” Before every match I remind him that a rating is an approximation of skill, and that no matter how “good” someone is, they can always make a mistake. And that he should not take for granted that he will win when paired with a person whose rating happens to be lower. Inevitable losses to players who are lower-rated are always accompanied by, “I wasn’t playing my hardest.” But guess what? The other person probably was.

I look forward to the first time that someone underestimates me.