So how did that happen?? I was cruising along in March, I blinked and now it's April.
Of course I've been training. Had a couple of days off because I had a very mild dose of a head cold. Felt a bit woozy and stuffy. These days I know better than just soldiering through and hoping it'll go away. Instead, I give training a miss for a couple of days (grudgingly), and I get over it and that's the end of that. See, I am capable of learning.
I've been busy with uni, we had the first little exam for the semester and I have three assignments due within the next couple of weeks. I never thought that an IT degree would be "easy", but the sheer amount of work to get assignments and other course work done is quite staggering.
On top of that, I've started in my new IT job. Totally new field to me. It's part time and is part of my studies. There is still a lot of getting used to the new workplace, settling in, getting to know people and places and routines and all that sort of stuff. Hopefully, by next week, I'll actually be starting to hook into some real stuff.
With part time work, full time studies, the farm and horses, training (between 6 and 10 sessions per week), I barely seem to have time left to eat, sleep and do the other household jobs. Ah, it's a grand life ;-)
I know it sounds silly to some people, but some of the lessons I've learned in BJJ are coming in handy. Such as: not giving up, accepting that some things need to be done in small steps, staying positive, having a game plan, believing in myself ... and... not giving up :-)
Anyway, back to BJJ.
As always, there are ups and downs. The down side is that I haven't been able to get to Geelong to John Will's school. And it looks I won't have much chance for it over the next few weeks as well. With all the travel time, it just takes too much time out of my Tuesday, and at present, with work and study it just can't be done. But at our school, the Ballarat Dojo, there are five classes per week plus open mat, and I usually get to all of those.
In addition, a new gym opened in Ballarat which also offers grappling. Ininite MMA is a 10th Planet affiliate run by John Campbell. There are no-gi classes and later on there will be MMA classes as well. I know John and a lot of the guys who train there from before. We rarely do no-gi at the Dojo, so it's nice to have the opportunity to play with that aspect of BJJ. The 10th Planet stuff is pretty different, almost a wholly new skill set. My flexibility isn't fantastic, but not bad either, so I can integrate a lot of those techniques into my game. Also, I have the chance to roll with more people, giving me a broader range of training partners. I go to that gym 2-3 times per week, as time permits.
Needless to say, I'm the only female at that grappling establishment, too.... Only that the average age of the guys who train there is even is lower than at the Dojo. So if I weren't so hard-headed and ignorant of what is seemly for a middle aged woman, I'd be feeling even more out of place ;-) But the sad truth is that I don't give a ... As to what the guys think? Who knows.
Had a chuckle last week when I went there. The first couple of times I went, I drilled and rolled with guys who I also train with at the Dojo. But then I went one evening, and the only guy I train with was already paired up and that left an unimpressed looking young guy who seemed hesitant, but was the last one left and just had to drill with "her". :-)
So we drilled stuff. Turned out he's much more of a newbie than I am, and I helped him a bit with some of the positions and transitions. Which he took well. And after a bit, he loosened up and we helped each other. Then we did some positional rolling to put the new stuff into action. We worked really well and both got a lot out of that. And at the end of class, he smiled and we shook hands. And as I walked past him a little later, he thanked me again and looked very happy. So I'm guessing that he no longer has issues drilling and grappling with "her". Good stuff!
Since then, I've drilled and rolled with others and there have been no issues at all. I had some rolls with John and I was thoroughly destroyed in the process. But I consider it a small win that he had to change tactics a few times, and that it took him longer than 30 seconds per roll to make me tap out.
At the Dojo, we had a lot of fun as well. Last time I wrote, it was the day before the grading. That saw several guys get their first stripe. And it saw several guys get bounced on stuff. There has been some pretty dedicated drilling of techniques since then, and this coming Saturday will see a re-run. I expect to see all the guys get their next stripe.
We've been doing a few sessions on the switch from turtle. I really had a lot of trouble with that. Mostly because I didn't have the technique quite right and because I lacked the commitment necessary to pull it off. But a few sessions working on different variations (depending on whether the guy sprawled on top has his arm in below my arm, above my arm and reaching for the collar, on in a guillotine choke) and I'm starting to get some confidence with it.
Last Wednesday evening, I took the class. I was going to show three collar chokes from closed guard and do some slow rolling and chess game. But we started with the chess game, swapping partners ever so often, and somehow we all had that much fun that we ran out of time. Everyone said they got something out of it. One of the blue belts discovered a hole (and a new attack!) in his game, and all the white belts used the chance to play what-if from different positions.
Generally, I'm still under the impression that my rolling is pretty aimless and so-so. Some days I manage some really inspired stuff, other days it feels completely lack-lustre. Funny enough, I seem to fare better against the big guys, I don't get pinned so often. I get back to guard surprisingly often, and even get to superior positions regularly. On the other hand, the two lighter guys really have picked up with their grappling, and their speed and squirmimess is now a real challenge. Also, they are onto my favourite attacks and are developing good defences. But that just goes to show that nothing was ever meant to be easy, and that the only thing which is constant about BJJ is the amount of change which happens within us and our training partners.
So, that, in a ramply, incoherent sort of a fashion, is what happened within the last couple of weeks.
I'm just so glad I found BJJ :-)