Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jiu Jitsu Book Club!

Why?

Because I want to.
Because it’s summer and that means summer reading!
Because no one else will invite a fighter girl into their refined book discussion group.
Because, damn it, we may choke out our competition, but we do it with intellectual (aka nerdy) style!
Because, in the last few months, I have come to value the opinions and perspectives of the readers and bloggers I have met online.

So, here’s the deal . . .

I created a Google Group for anyone who wants to read a book together and discuss it from our unique jiu jitsu perspectives. (I just started reading Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil—we could read that or another choice selected by the group.)

So, if you wanna get your discussion on, follow the link here or below.



Friday, June 24, 2011

What I Love About BJJ


I’m a Busy Mother of Two. I never seem to have enough time to do the things that need doing.
Laundry? Piled Up.
Dishes? Dirty in the dishwasher and in the sink.
Bills? Stacked high.
Car? Low on gas.
The list goes on.

I also never have enough hands.
            I can’t pick up my child’s dropped toy and drive at the same time.
            When leaving a store carrying a shopping bag, I only have one other hand for holding. This always causes an argument between my sons.
            Cleaning up? There’s invariably one more thing than I can comfortably carry without dropping the whole armload.

Since I was a young fry I’ve recognized the value an extra opposable appendage might bestow. I’ve always used my feet for things like picking up a stray sock. Hey, it saves me from bending over! The fascination continued into college when one wacky night my Friend and I practiced writing the Greek alphabet with a pencil between our toes. We titled the paper (in footwriting), “It’s All Greek to Feet.” (Yeah. Shark Girl went wild in college.)

What’s great about jiu jitsu is that it trains you to use other parts of your body as hands. I am learning to use not only my feet, but my knees, my elbows, my hips, my shins . . . pretty much anything I can, like my hands. And the thing about that is, well, when you’re using your feet as hands, you still have two hands left over!

Jiu jitsu just could be the answer to all the harried mother problems of the world!

Not now . . . but maybe in a few years!

Oh, by the way, Busy Mother of Two just got less busy! Welcome summer!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fashion Hel(l)p!

Help!

No gi classes have started and I’m in fashion hell. The gi was great. I knew exactly what to wear. But this no gi thing. Ack.

First there’s the pants problem. All the sports shorts I have are too short. They’ll show the curve of my butt cheek as soon as I hit the mat. I have resorted to a couple of old bicycle-style shorts circa 1990. They function well. They don’t ride up. I don’t mind sweating in them because they’re ancient, er, vintage. Apparently they came back in style two years ago ("work, 'em, ladies 'n' gents"!). It seems like that problem is solved. But then you get to the shirt.

If it’s hot, I’d prefer to wear a tank top (sports bra underneath). But when I put on the tank with the bike shorts, I don’t know. . . . I feel too . . . curvy to be getting all hot-and-sweaty grapply with the guys. The gi covered everything and hid my womanhood. (I suppose this is why some people favor uniforms, at school or other places. People can focus on the work instead of the clothes and what’s showing or not. Oh, please, bring back my jiu jitsu uniform! If only it weren’t so goddamned hot!)

In a rare show of modesty, I have resorted to the bike shorts and a handful of tees that have met certain rigorous Shark Girl standards:

1) not too heavyweight;
2) not too large for Shark Girl’s dainty frame;
3) not too stretchy for jiu jitsu.

That’s about three shirts. I suppose I can live with that for now. But in a few weeks I’m going to need some more rotation.

I’ve been trolling on-line for rash guards and shorts. First off, all the rash guards have brand names on them. I can’t do brand names across my chest. (That’s a pet peeve I’ll save for another day.) Second, how about some style? Only two stores seemed to have rashies with style, and all of them were upwards of $50 each. Then I found some cute, fitted, longer yoga shorts that I thought might work well. Again, upwards of $50. If I am going to buy something new, I want it cute, comfortable, and functional. But I also don’t want to feel guilty sweating in it because it cost me half a week’s salary. I do not want to compromise my sons’ Harvard* educations because Mommy had to get the cool jiu jitsu duds. Is that too much for a Shark Girl to ask?

So here’s where you all come in. I know this is a fashion-forward crowd. What do you no gi in?

Much Love,
Shark Girl


*or Yale; I’m not one of those fussy parents.  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Game is Like the Pythagorean Theorem?


Today I was feeling “The Gentle Art.” I’ve recently discussed at length how I feel (sucky) about being muscled in BJJ. And how perhaps I should be flattered that some big, strong dudes feel adequately threatened by me that they must resort to muscle to contain me.

Shaquille O’Neal once described his game as “ . . . the Pythagorean theorem . .  . there is no answer.” Although there actually is an answer (C2, dude), musclers make me feel my game is like Shaq’s, and since they can’t come up with C2, their only recourse is muscling. If you’ve forgotten your high school geometry, here’s Arnold Schwarzenegger to remind you. 



Actually, if I’m being honest, musclers don’t make me feel good about my game, they make me feel sucky, as I’ve said before, just a few lines ago. But I’m trying to convince myself otherwise. Muscling makes me feel like all my hard work is meaningless. That why the frig am I bothering to roll with them? This is no “Gentle Art.”

But . . . sometimes when I roll, mostly with purple belts and above, I feel the Gentle Art. The movements can be so beautiful and graceful. It’s like dancing. Like my partner is saying, “Here, let me put you down on this mat. Oh, would you mind terribly if I stopped the flow of blood to your head?” Of course, I’m triangled before I can blink. But the beauty and grace is stunning.

I imagine Pythagoras saw the same beauty and grace in his triangles when he realized the connection between their sides. Roughness and brutishness are the domains of the novice; there is art in everything when taken to a certain level.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Estrogen-Induced Injury

   
[Warning: This post talks about “women’s issues” and contains links to scholarly research and potentially heretical satire. Read at your own risk.]

Have you ever had an estrogen induced injury? Well Shark Girl has. I wouldn't have known it was estrogen-induced if I had not gone to my parents’ house this past weekend and read the month-old copy of Women’s World that I found in my old room. Yes, my old room has been invaded by outdated Old Lady Magazines.

Shark Girl Reads
            I was browsing through these OLMs in order to drift off into peaceful sleep. A headline caught my attention: Baby Your Joints! Among gems like, “Raise your seat higher so you put less stress on your knees while standing up,” Shark Girl read something like, “Be careful with your joints before your period—estrogen levels spike making them more vulnerable to injury.” The target audience for this magazine must be a little younger than I thought.

Shark Girl Gets Hurt : (
            The next morning, I was passing guard. I grabbed my partner’s gi with my left hand, four fingers under, thumb up. It was a secure grab, but I didn’t put weight on my thumb. Suddenly, I heard or felt (I can’t remember which) a pop. My thumb ached and I called time. I briefly inspected my thumb. No blood. No acute pain. Fine mobility. There were only a few seconds left in the roll so I did what any good Shark Girl would do. I finished the roll (protecting my thumb, of course). I left with an ice pack and sucked down some ibuprofen. I even stopped in to see an old high school friend on the way home.

Shark Girl Connects the Dots
            I’ve been pregnant twice. Pregnant ladies have lots of estrogen. Pregnant women also have notoriously lax ligaments. Some people think this is because stretchy ligaments help the ladies deliver large-headed babies through seemingly impossible structural drawbacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . This accident came on without warning. No pain indicating overextension. Nothing. It was a puzzler. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .Was I surging with estrogen? Was I pre-periodal? I stopped keeping track a long time ago. This recently contributed to a pregnancy scare that I would have called the Vatican on. The headlines would have read New Savior Conceived by Shark Girl. In the end, I was just too busy working, raising kids, volunteering for professional organizations, and kicking some jiu-jitsu ass to even realize my period had come and gone . . . twice.

Shark Girl Takes it to the MD
            I know, I know, you are all worried about my poor thumb right now. Sleep tight, I took good care of it. I made a homemade splint out of medical tape and a Popsicle stick. I wore it around for a couple of days (because it looked totally cool) before taking it to the professionals. Nothing showed up on the x-ray. Dr. Ortho thinks I sprained the ligament. The sprain is in a weird place—the first joint down from the nail and on the side of the finger. He gave me four to six weeks for recovery and said my homemade splint was “overkill.” He said if I felt uncomfortable leaving it unprotected, I could just wrap some Coban around it. And, like a good Shark Girl I said, “Is there anything I should wear for jiu jitsu?” I got a nice splint and a funny look.

Apparently Shark Girl needs to get injured to know when the dot is coming.

Oh, and Estrogen-Induced Injuries are for reals.