Last Wednesday night we started out with our usual cals. Our instructor had us do one push up for every year we’ve been alive. “You’re kidding me!” I called out, as the oldest (and smallest and weakest) person in the class. “You can take a break between them,” he replied. Hell, no. I did my 40. I huffed and breathed and groaned through the last five. But I did ‘em. Take that, 20-year olds! Then we did 100 crunches and 30 hip-ups. We finished with hip escapes across the room; for the first time my hip escapes felt correct.
We drilled rear chokes and escapes. I felt focused and successful. It turns out my short stature helped me to twist out of the rear choke. Less upper body to travel through the seatbelt. When it came time to roll, we didn't entirely “free roll,” but focused on the techniques. For half the time, one person was the attacker and the other person the escapee and then we switched. Most of my partners were white belts so we rolled hard, but it was manageable, directed, and fun. I even got an unexpected arm bar!
On Wednesday, it felt like the three things I’ve been trying to focus on in my jiu jitsu practice finally, perhaps fleetingly, came together.
First, I’ve been working hard to leave the ego at the door. What does it matter if I suck? Or if I have to be walked through the move seven more times? Hey! I’m an old lady! I get credit just for being there.
Second, my new mantra is Breathe on the bottom. (I would have chosen Fear is the mind killer, but Frank Herbert's got that copyrighted.) I’m a 106(ish?)-pound woman wrestling with 150-pound men. I’m going to be on the bottom. It’s going to suck. But freaking out isn’t going to change anything. I need to take deep breaths and think about my escape.
And finally, I have been taking slidey’s advice (from my new boyfriend Saulo) to heart. “Your partner must be your best friend.” As I remind myself of this, it makes it easy to laugh at myself and congratulate my partner.
When I got home from class, Husband was playing computer Scrabble. “I did 40 push ups tonight!” I boasted.
“You did not. I don’t think I could do 40 push ups. Let me see you do 40 push ups now.”
“Uh-uh. I already did them. I’ll do a couple as an example.” [I dropped to the floor and handily completed two or three.]
“You’re not going all the way down to the floor,” he commented. I assume that was the jealousy talking.