Friday, January 3, 2014

Blue Belt Blues

I am sitting here on a snow day from school, a snow day that should have been worse, that could have had me up and out the door at 7 to teach the children, and I am wondering what I should write about. These days meaningful tidbits come up less often. When I first started BJJ, everything was momentous. Everything was something to write about. I needed help and support and cheerleading for every little thing, from which undergarments to wear to how to wash my gi. I would drive home from a class with ideas for posts sprouting out in all directions. But now, well, my training has become mundane, in the sense that on a daily basis it is nothing special.

I once read some snide poster on some BJJ board write that all female white belts started a blog and then dropped it once they became blue belts. He was belittling our women’s voice in BJJ. I interpret the phenomenon differently. It speaks to how isolated women who start BJJ feel. At the beginning, there are few people, if any, in their gyms that can give them the help and support they need, so they turn to the Internet. That’s what I did. But, if they haven’t dropped out by the time they make blue belt, guess what? They must have found some support and guidance, found a place where they belong. Because really, who, guy or girl, could make it to blue belt without support and guidance? So I get it. Since I’ve become a blue belt I’ve had less to talk about, I’ve needed less day-to-day support.

As I look through my blogging archives, I see that my posts have become less frequent. Either that means I am really supported, or I am uninspired. Perhaps a little of both. Some days I wonder whether it’s time to pack up the blog. Do I really need it any longer? Is it serving a function? If I shut it down, am I just another notch on that douchey poster’s 2-stripe white belt (although he’s probably quit by now)? Am I just another female blogger that stopped after she hit blue belt? I gotta say, I am motivated more than I should be by proving douchebags wrong. That’s part of what appeals to me about BJJ.

I notice that other female blue-belt bloggers who are still in the game sometimes change their focus. I started this blog to make sure I didn’t quit jiu jitsu. It has served its purpose. I’m not sure I have another focus. If I do, it’s not yet clear. If you start to hear less frequently from Shark Girl, don’t panic. I am still here. I may decide to sunset Shark Girl BJJ, but I will never sunset Shark Girl!

Happy 2014!




13 comments:

  1. I completely understand! Actually, everything about this post rings true. I did find all my support as a white belt from the internet. And I do feel a lot of support at my academy now! And the "magic" of BJJ does disappear, but that doesn't mean you love it any less! I did shift my focus a bit on my blog. Either way, I hope you still write once in a while. I love your posts :)

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    1. Thank you! good luck in your third year!

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  2. Please keep writing! I enjoy your posts muchly.

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    1. And I yours! Mini-martial artists, unite!

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  3. I'd be very sad if you stopped blogging, though I can understand that it becomes more difficult to blog when you've achieved your original aim. In my case, it's pretty easy, as my goal was and still is just "document what I'm doing in BJJ". As long as I keep training, I can keep blogging (having said that, bit of a lull in training at the moment due to xmas/New Year closing).

    I guess the obvious thing would be to come up with a new goal that you find motivating. E.g., unique/unusual aspects of your BJJ journey, your area, your gym etc. There must be something that can keep Shark Girl in the blogosphere! ;)

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    1. slidey, that means so much to me. So much, in fact, that after reading it, a new post immediately popped into my head and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it down. It's on feet and I'm sure that's really exciting to many people. The fetish sites will go wild.
      I'm not sure if a new angle will present itself. I certainly don't want to force it. I'm just gonna wing it for now. What do we write for, anyway? For me, the most successful writing I do is for myself, not for anyone else. I'm selfish like that.

      Happy 2014, slidey! Three years, and still we haven't rolled. Come to New England, damnit!

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    2. Cool! Very glad to have been of any help. :)

      I would love to make it to New England some time: closest I'm going to get at the moment is Virginia next April, I think, but definitely looking to wrangle some more US trips in the future. It would be awesome to finally meet and roll with you!

      You'd be welcome here in Old England too, of course. ;)

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  4. HA! I heard that same thing too, then went off to write a blog post. Thankfully I've been very consistent - I find I keep having more and more to write about and say. There is a lack of upper belt voices in the female BJJ blogging community, which means that as you and I progress - we become blogging role models by default! haha

    You and I roughly started around the same time. I always really enjoy reading your experiences, and now that I've finally figured out Feedly, it's much easier for me to follow your blog posts without having to remember to come on the site. Gah.

    ps. thanks for having the "notify me" option checked so that I can read follow-up comments!

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    1. I know, I love your blog, and it's new look. Great job, and you always have something excellent to say. Where does it all come from?? I guess we are old timers now, whether we like it or not. Thanks for stopping by every now and then to listen to this geezer's rants!

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  5. Part of developing in this sport we play is that we internalize a great deal of movements and concepts. To do that, we drill them again and again until we understand them to the point that they recede from the mind into the unconscious level. They aren't as bright or vivid anymore, but they are still there and now functionally part of your consciousness to a point that it's not separable.

    The same could be said of the better relationships we have (ie. marriage, great friends, family ties and so on). And I hope your literary voice in my head is one of those too.

    So, in case you couldn't tell, I don't want you to stop. It'd be selfish of me to insist - especially as I write this while going through a spate of insomnia in Kathmandu, Nepal where I'll be for two more weeks yet - so by all means, evaluate and choose your pursuits as you wish, not as I do.

    Hope you're having a fantastic 2014 as I am.

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    1. This is absolutely beautiful--I love the connections you make about internalization--of techniques, of people, relationships, etc. Of course you flatter me and I do not deem myself worthy of literary voice status, never mind one that lives inside you. Perhaps it is Nepal talking. : )
      I am curious--what are you doing in Nepal? Are you climbing Everest or something? It wouldn't surprise me. Can I live vicariously through you? Clearly whatever I am doing, it couldn't possibly be as fantastic as your 2014. I am planning my own little overseas getaway. I'll update my profile pic when I come back and you can guess where I was. (But no one ever has!)

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  6. Shark Girl, even though I have no relationship with BJJ, I love reading your blog. Keep writing! Even about gross feet. :)

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    1. Ms. Matheson, your support means the world to me. My only wish is that we could discuss this over a nice glass of wine. Oh, look! I'm having one now! Cheers!

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