Today, I had my first opportunity to look at the line up from the front. Over the last couple of years, I have worked my way from the left side of the line over to the right. Recently, depending on who was at class, I've been the top end, taking warm ups for the instructor. I knew the day would come when I'd be the one in front. Well, that came on Monday.
For some reason, a lot of people are away at the moment, especially the senior guys. Some on holidays, some are sick or busy with family matters. Being a small school, all the coloured belts stand in and teach. And it doesn't take too many absences to feel pretty lonely up that end. So there was a room full of white belts (some were there only for their second class), and myself. But to be fair, I had some help and moral support in the form of a fourth stripe lady who is a Karate BB at our school.
I'm pleased to report that I didn't stress too much and as a result didn't have the dry mouth and sweaty palms like I get with public speaking. Phew! I guess part of the reason is that 1. I LIKE BJJ and 2. I'm reasonably confident in my knowledge and skills. I know it sounds stupid, but walking around with a blue belt gave me more confidence. I guess I finally worked out that I should have confidence because others have confidence in me. What a strange and difficult and emotionally challenging journey this is!
Anyyway, coming back to the class....I did a standard warm up but threw in a few stretches which I find easy but know others don't. Nothing like a bit of showing off ;-). Ahem, not really! They were mainly glute/hamgsting stretches and others which I think are good for developing flexibility for closed guard. But I sure heard some exasperated groans.
With mostly total newbies, I put basic drills on the menu. I told the guys they had to put up with my efforts and if I made stupid blunders, because it was my first time. But it all went pretty well. I demonstrated the positions and transitions with the lady and sent everyone off in pairs to go and drill. Then I went around and checked, encouraged, corrected where necessary and slowed people down (guys!!). I took turns with the other lady. She happend to be partnered up with a really big guy, so I made sure it wasn't too hard on her back (she's my vintage... ) by giving her a break. And to keep warm :-)
At the end of the class In know that even the two stripers picked up a few things and everybody had kept busy, looked nice and hot and said they'd learned something. I guess I couldn't wish for more than that. They looked happy and said thank you.
Personally, I'm still not sure what to make of the experience. It didn't faze me, and I wouldn't have issues doing it again. That in itselt is a surprise. But I would wish to have a bit of notice and make a plan. Something to fit in with our instructor and the theme/s he's working on. I was lying awake in bed that night thinking what I could have done differently or better. I know I forgot to mark the attendance sheet :-) Guess I better figure out everyone's names, too...
I'm sure I will learn from watching and helping others. From trying to see and understand and correct their technique to make it work, especially when they have a vastly different body type to me. But hey, I'm only a beginner myself, and my biggest worry it that I make a mistake which is propagated through teaching to others. So I'll do my best for everyone and learn as much as I can in the process.
But I'm most looking forward to classes where I'm just a student :-)