Before starting BJJ, many women worry about having a strange man between their legs. Will it feel awkward? Will it feel sexy? Will he get aroused? How can a nice girl put herself in that position with so many different men on one night? And then do it over and over again?
When I tell other people I practice BJJ, the first thing they ask is, “What’s that?” When they find out, they usually screw their face up into a twisted knot. You do what? With whom? Where? It’s like I said that I eat newborn kittens for breakfast. For some reason, putting men between your legs in order to control their bodies and lock their joints is not as socially acceptable as one might think.
I’m not normally shy about my body. Never really was. I’m no exhibitionist, but as a long-time exerciser, I have learned to feel comfortable with the parts I have, to see them as tools. I have two arms, two legs, like most people. I use them to run and cook and do all sorts of neat stuff. I didn’t think I’d have trouble adjusting to The Stranger Between My Legs. But I knew there would be an adjustment period, and worried about how the men would adjust, too.
I looked to the Internet to help me feel more comfortable with this potential awkwardness. In my search, I found this great on-line community of femme fatales. Three bloggers in particular helped me work through this. Leslie helped me feel comfortable being a woman in jiu jitsu. Georgette helped me see that a woman could appreciate the sport. Slideyfoot showed me that guys get over it. They roll with women and take them seriously.
Armed with this assurance, I dove into BJJ. And guess what? For the most part, no awkwardness. In fact, I am surprised at how completely The Stranger Between My Legs becomes just a sparring partner. It’s the closeness of grappling. We are so close to each other’s bodies that our partner’s body feels like an extension of our own.
Sometimes we don’t talk to each other, we just use our bodies. For example, you’re in the heat of grappling, and you get too close to the wall. Does your partner say, “Hey, you’re gonna crack your head. Let’s move!”? Or does he just drag you by the feet away from the wall? When you’re repping a move and you need your partner in your guard, do you say for the 10th time, “Would you please get in my guard?” Or do you just grab him with your legs and pull him toward you? These are very intimate movements. How quickly our bodies become familiar tools to our partners. How fast is the transition from Stranger to Partner. Socially acceptable? I don’t know. But it sure is a lot of fun.
I got some great rolling tonight with another white belt. He’s on the small side so my sweeps actually have a chance of working. Our skill levels are about the same so it’s a real challenge and I actually have a chance of submitting. The New Girls came again. Everything worked out fine. There were only two of them so they partnered up.
* Wish I could take credit for this phrase, but it's all Georgette. Thanks, gal!