Monday, September 20, 2021

Shark Girl Is Ready to Pull the Plug on Her "New" Gym

I need your jiu jitsu therapy again, o vast and all-knowing readers. 

About a year Before Covid (BC), my native gym closed down--the one where I trained from a lowly white belt, made great friends, and found my stride. 

Eight months BC, I decided on a new gym. I worried that I wouldn't fit in. I was a brown-belt, dare I say over-promoted by my laissez-faire gym environment that focused more on training consistently with pals then going for the gold. To be sure, I welcomed a more challenging environment. I wanted to improve. I set my ego off the mat, tied on my brown belt (because it's rude not to), and hopped into a competition-focused gym. I gave it my all until covid.

I went to every class, stayed until the end and, despite getting home late, took copious notes on techniques, drills, even the partners I was rolling with. I wanted to make this work.

My new coaches were great teachers. They had solid techniques that were not super flashy but worked. They gave me some good advice to improve. And then . . .

Covid hit. 

This isn't a story about covid. So I'll just skip along to the After Covid (AC) period.

I went back to classes this summer, ready to pick up where I left off. My goal was to get better with each class and not worry about my belt, how I compare to others--all that shit. I'm fifty-one after all. I just want to have some fun with a sport I love.

But now I am realizing that, every class, I feel like a disappointment to this group. I feel like they are embarrassed that they inherited a brown belt that isn't up to their standards. Honestly I feel like it would be a load off their shoulders if I leave. 

So, I think that's what I am going to do. There is one other gym in the area that I am looking into for a little later, Post Delta (PD), or whatever variant comes along. (My family is covid shy, so I might as well wait.)

Other than that, a buddy of mine has a few mats and we are going to roll intermittently. If you have any other ideas, I am open. 

Those of you who have been reading along know how hard I have fought against leaving jiu jitsu. I hope this is not the end. But if it is, it's been a good ride.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

It’s A Dick Move--Or Is It?

This was my first night back on the mats post-Covid lockdown.

Last night I rolled with a new white belt, one month in. 

“What do you want to work on?” I asked.

“Breaking the guard and getting to side control,” New White Belt replied.

NWB seems about thirty, not too tall, not too short. Average build, maybe a little meaty. I would guess he’s about 160-170 pounds.

“Well, that will be easy to do on me.” My stubby legs usually they pop open with no resistance. 

I wrapped my legs around NWB, barely connecting my feet together. NWB took a deep breath, stared at the ceiling, went over the breaking-guard steps in his head as he carefully postured up, slid his knee into my posterior, stretched away. My ankles snapped open. I resisted the urge to activate my open guard—this was his learning experience, after all. I waited patiently as he transitioned to side control, leaving gaps large enough to drive a truck through.

NWB worked to side control and exhaled. 

“That was good!” I encouraged him. 


“Yeah. Now you gotta work on your spacing. I could have escaped while you were passing.”

I demonstrated how to keep his knee close to the hip on a punch-through, how to underhook the opposite arm, and how to transition his other knee under the shoulder.

He tried again, maneuvering a little better this time. As he settled into the position he asked,

“Now, what’s that thing you do where you crush the person’s jaw?”

    “Oh?” I replied, not eager for a jaw crushing just then.

“You know, with your shoulder?”

The thought of his extra 60+ pounds driving into my jaw made me say what I said next:

“That’s kind of a dick move.”

He seemed shocked. “Oh, it is? I didn’t know. I’m sorry. Some of the purple belts have been showing me how to really crush someone’s jaw when you’re in this position.”

Oh the purple belts have been showing you? I thought maybe he had seen it on YouTube. But he was learning it from my teammates. I didn’t want to dis them. I also don’t want to end up with a broken jaw when this guy spazzes out during sparring. So I regrouped.

“Oh, I see. Well, with me, it would be kind of a dick move, because you are twice my size. You don’t need to do that to control me. But, if you were rolling with that guy over there,” I jerked my thumb toward to our resident 260-pound black-bear of a mat-mate, “You might need to do that to keep him down.”

I went into side control on NWB and gently crushed his jaw.

“It’s like this: in Jiu Jitsu you want to expend the least amount of energy necessary to control your opponent. If you can do it without the jaw crush, you should.”

So, here’s my working definition, folks: a Dick Move is when you use more force than you need to in order to control your opponent.


Do you have other ways to define a Dick Move? When is it all-is-fair Jiu Jitsu, and when is it a DM? When is someone calling something a Dick Move actually a Dick Move on their part?

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Coaches: 13 Ways to Get (and Keep) More Women in Your BJJ Classes

 Most of the time I am the only woman at my gym. Every now and then, a pair of women will come in, stay for a bit, move on. Sometimes a singleton will brave a class or two. Most do not stay. Let’s face it, most guys do not stay, either, am I right? You have to be a special kind of person to enjoy being smushed repeatedly, miserably punished, striving bleakly to overcome the gargantuan dude crushing your thorax.

     But, some guys do stay. Almost all girls leave. Perhaps it is their acculturation--it’s not

nice to beat people up. I know I had to “unlearn” that. But if jiu jitsu is about the smaller person overcoming the bigger and stronger person, who needs it more than the ovaried sex? So, coaches, what can we do to keep the ladies? 

Shark Girl Is Ready to Pull the Plug on Her "New" Gym

I need your jiu jitsu therapy again, o vast and all-knowing readers.  About a year Before Covid (BC), my native gym closed down--the one whe...