Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shark Girl Needs to Get Her Blog On

Here’s what happened last night in the Shark Girl household:

Dinner, 9:00 PM
“So, honey, I was rolling with a PLD (Particularly Large Dude) tonight,” Shark Girl said over her burrito.
            “Mmm hmm,” Husband absently replied.
            “He complimented me on a move I used. It wasn’t the nicest move, but PLD is over twice my weight. His arm is the size of my thigh!” I continued.
            “Mmm hmm,” Husband absently replied.
            “He said that I was putting a lot of pressure on him and it was uncomfortable. Uncomfortable! I made PLD uncomfortable!”
            “Mmm hmm,” Husband murmured, reaching for a stray section of the New York Times.
            “I said I was sorry for using a ‘mean’ tactic, but that I felt I had to or I wouldn’t have gotten out of his half guard.”
            “Mmm hmm.” Husband flipped a page.
            “He said that I should use it every time, and that I might even get taps from it!”
            “Oh, hey,” Husband said, here’s that piece on Dog Day Afternoon you were talking about.”

Before Bed, 11:30 PM
“So, can I show you the technique from tonight?” Shark Girl segued after helping Husband come up with a Scrabble play.
            “Su-rr-e,” Husband dragged out the pronunciation of this word, expanding it to three syllables.
            “Okay. Come over here.” I led him to the bed. At this point, most husbands would start to get very excited. Husband, however, sighed audibly and, with a look of resignation, got ready to lie on the floor. “No, you can get on the bed this time.”
            “Hhhhh, okay. Watch the back.”
            I positioned our bodies correctly, and showed him how I would, if we were sparring, drive all my weight into my knee and maneuver properly to cause serious discomfort. “But I won’t actually do it,” I assured him.
            “Why not?” Did he say that? Really? Mr. Don’t-Hurt-My-Back-Ouch-I’m-Going-To-Feel-That-Tomorrow was asking me to bring it? I wasn’t falling for that trick.
            “No, but can you imagine what that would feel like?”
            “No. I don’t get it.”
            Now the sigh came from me.

Sharing the Bathroom, 11:45 PM
“Well, it’s very exciting, because one of the principles of jiu jitsu is that a person may be stronger than me, but their arm isn’t stronger than my whole body.”
            “Mmm hmm,” I could see the veil come down over Husband’s eyes, like that clear eyelid that reptiles have to shield their eyes from desert dust. The sound of his tooth brush filled the room.
            “And I may weigh 108 pounds, but when I focus all that weight onto one point of my body and put it on you, well, that’s not going to feel good.”
            “Hmm . . . oh, I canceled that meeting that I was telling you about.”
            [Pause] “Sweetie, thank you for tolerating my jiu jitsu talk.” Shark Girl gave Husband a kiss on the cheek.


Friday, July 15, 2011

If You're Looking for a Fight

[For multimedia experience, press "play" on Looking for a Fight, below.]

Has BJJ changed the way you look at conflicts?

When faced with a conflict, I usually feel adrenaline and nervousness. My mind races—how can I get what I want out of this?

I noticed the strangest thing the last few times conflict arose. It was almost excitement. How would this turn out? My mind traversed possible paths and outcomes. Then a smile crept over my face, much like the one that curls up on me when I slap someone’s hand in congeniality before a grapple.

“We better play Sporcle today, or else!” a student tossed out on the last day of school. “Is that a threat?” I asked, grinning happily, almost stretching out my hand for the initiating slap. (We did play Sporcle, but it was content-related!) Approaching the boss about getting something that costs a lot of money? What take-down should I use?

BJJ has helped me see and feel what I knew intellectually: that a conflict isn’t a beginning, middle, and end, it is a web of responses just like a jiu jitsu match. It doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be fun.

We recently went to see the Sweetback Sisters perform. In fact, we went through a lot to see them perform. Our car broke down on the highway en route, and, kids in tow, I took a cab to Enterprise Rent-a-Car, hopped into the “only model they had on the lot” (a swanky Grand Marquis—totally felt like Grandma), picked up Husband at the AAA–approved mechanic nearest us, and continued on our journey.

Today in the car I was singing their song, Looking for a Fight.


Husband, who now assumes that I’m thinking about BJJ all the time, gave me a funny look. “I’m wondering . . . if the concert had been on [night you practice jiu jitsu] or [other night you practice jiu jitsu], would we have gone?” I evaded the question. I wasn’t looking for a fight.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

To Compete or Not to Compete?

Shark Girl is thinking of competing.

I know, I know. Here comes the fear again.

I’m used to sparring with my regulars. I know how they put submissions on. I know when I need to tap. I know how they roll. In a competition, I will know none of that. What if I get injured? More importantly, can my fragile ego take getting owned? What if I don’t know all the rules and I break one?

On the other hand, what else am I training for? It will be a good chance to see my skill development.

I have read posts from first time (scared) competers like me, who afterward are so glad they did it. I suppose one never knows if they will like it until they try. And if Shark Girl doesn’t like it, she never has to do it again, right?

I welcome your thoughts and advice on this subject. At this point, I have made no final decision. But I do have another, perhaps tougher, question.

Which division? The divisions run from one to six months of experience, and from seven months to two years of experience. I have been training since the last week of November. Technically, I have 7 months of training. However, I have six months of gi training and one month of nogi training. Do I count the whole seven months? Or do I break it down? I will admit it scares me a little to compete with folks who have been doing it for two years, but I am no sandbagger.